From the Editor’s Desk 59


Coming around again

There is so much vibrant and new on the Durham socio-cultural landscape it is sometimes easy to forget the long time traditions. For example, last weekend the newbie, the Durham Pottery Tour was juxtaposed against the long timer, the twelfth annual Watts-Hillandale Art Walk. Now there is no saying hearty cultural adventurers can’t do both, the Pottery Tour was Saturday and Sunday.

It is delightful to have a cultural calendar filled with opportunities. Yesterday on the second episode of our new webcast, “Sights on the City,” Chris Vitiello was getting me excited about the Durham Independent Dance Artists (DIDA) season while I was reminding him about the Bull City Poetry Slam. We both marveled at the way in which the Pop-Up Chorus is blowing up; all puns intentional.

It would be perfectly natural if some old favorites weren’t on your radar, especially if you are one of the many folks new to our intentional community. In civic service (tongue only semi-planted in cheek) I would like to remind you of two such cultural events in the forthcoming weeks.

I don’t claim to be unbiased.* I much prefer to heartily declare my positions and presuppositions and to engage in discussion with you, learned peeps.

Both the events coming up accrue value to small businesses, individual entrepreneurs and craftspeople, mostly locals. I refer to Sustain-A-Bull Durham’s “Shop Indie Durham Week” and the Durham Arts Council’s “Durham Art Walk Holiday Market.” In the case of the former my bias and conflict of interest is that I am serving as the interim President of the Board at Sustain-A-Bull Durham, in the latter, I am a long-time and grateful fan of much of the work of the Durham Arts Council.**


In both cases, the events dovetail with my support of a shop local ethic. Money spent at local businesses stays in the community at a far higher rate than money spent at chains and big box stores. Some of those reasons are obvious, local business owners are far more likely to live in their community which has a cascading series of effects.  They are more likely to bank in their community. They themselves shop in the community. They are invested in the reputation, health, and services of the community. They may employ members of the community, who also shop and invest in the community.

It is only those last two that the big box store and the chain can match, yes they employ people locally who spend locally. But the difference in magnitude for the community in spending your money with a local business versus multi-state or even multi-national entities can be measured on the Richter Scale. Local businesses serve a symbiotic function in the local economy and ecology, whereas global businesses frequently play a parasitic role in the local community.

“Shop Indie Durham Week” runs the week after Thanksgiving. It stands in powerful contrast to the corporate megalomaniac masters’ assertion that people need to work and shop on Thanksgiving Day. In fact, it doesn’t even start Black Friday, a ritual gorging from which culturally we should, if not cease and desist, at least, in MAD parlance, massively deescalate. You can spend your hard earned dollars slowly and in small doses at local retailers all of whom will be offering “Shop Indie Durham Week” specials from Saturday, November 29th through Sunday, December 7th.

holiday art market arts council

The “Durham Art Walk Holiday Market” exists in a similar vein. Over 200 artists will have their work on display at sixteen venues including naturally the Arts Council, as well as, the Museum of Durham History Hub, the Measurement Inc Building, Vega Metals, the Bull City Arts Collaborative, Net Friends, Through This Lens Gallery, Exotique, Pleiades Gallery, Urban Durham Realty, and The Makery. You can tour these local businesses while shopping for handmade crafts from local artists and artisans.

Within the “Durham Art Walk Holiday Market” the Durham Art Guild will be staging an exciting 11 hour ART-A-THON in the gallery at Arts Council’s 120 Morris Street home. Multiple artists will be transforming the space, setting up temporary studios in the middle of the gallery and creating affordable original artwork LIVE on the spot to sell during the Art Walk Holiday Market. A percentage of all art sales will benefit the exhibitions, programs, and operations of the Durham Art Guild. Live painting, a crafting corner, Durham swag, screen printing, jewelry making, what’s not to like?

painting by DAG member artist Lori White.

painting by DAG member artist Lori White.

If Art is at the nexus of protest, shifting spending in this way is an action in a capitalist paradigm. I remember the tuna boycott when I was a kid. That worked, didn’t it?***

Aaron Mandel photo by Jessica Arden Photography

Aaron Mandel photo by Jessica Arden Photography


*Foundationally both the Clarion Content and I stand on the premise the unbiased does not exist. In additional to ontological exceptions, see Jim Peacok, “A fact is a precept seen through a particular lens…” real, if anecdotal, life experience has confirmed said observation. (Impersonal should not be confused for impartial.)

**I mean many elements therein.

***Dolphin and tuna aside, overfishing remains a massive global problem that is going largely unaddressed.

Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content. For more than a decade, the Clarion Content has covered Durham’s arts, politics, music, and cultural milieu. From breaking news stories to the hottest local acts, the Clarion Content is on the scene. The Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views. Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members. He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade. Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team. He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.

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