To the naked eye, it was a moldy box of old magazines that smelled like a basement.
But to the trained eye, the box handed to me by Ron Abrahamson some weeks back was so much more. It contained dozens of old back issues of North Dakota Horizons, a popular magazine examining life in North Dakota that continues to this day. I love old publications; the smell, the photography, the design, and the ads all offer rare glimpses into lives we lived not so long ago.
Of all the magazines in that box, an issue examining the western North Dakota oil boom of the early 80’s was the most fascinating find. Large photos by Wayne Gudmundson framed a story of opportunity and excitement, of sacrifice and economic growth. How poetic, I thought, given North Dakota’s new role as a leader in oil production and with the attention it has garnered locally, nationally, and even internationally.
Beyond the oil boom, though, I was also struck by the sense that the more things change, the more they stay the same. At the time, Horizons was a fairly young publication, just as the ARTSpulse blog you’re reading now is young and getting off the ground. It’s a new medium for a new age of communication and new generations of artists and performers, and yet so many issues affecting our life and culture remain largely unchanged. North Dakota, Minnesota, the Red River Valley, and our region as a whole continue to occupy a vital economic role while new ideas continue to sprout and flourish. We are still a hearty and hard-working people, and yet the ways we express ourselves continue to shift and evolve, bringing our unique culture along with it.
As we at the Arts Partnership move forward into this medium, we’d like to think that we’re playing a role in both the tradition and evolution of our region’s arts and cultural doings, and we want to communicate both of them in earnest. We’re excited to be a central focal point for information about the arts and the happenings of our Partners, and we hope you are too.
And, we also hope someone thirty years from now will be able to look back on the work we did here and come to similar conclusions about how the more things change, the more they stay the same.
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions on content you’d like to see on the ARTSpulse blog, feel free to leave a comment. Over the next week or so, we’ll have social media outlets for you to follow and use for conversation, and we’ll also roll out an email service to keep you abreast of arts and culture activities in and around the area. Until then, thanks for your support and patronage of the arts!