I'm not an artist, an art student or an art collector. I like art but I didn't realize how much I enjoyed art until I found the Long Beach artists - that is, artists in the city of Long Beach, California. In this seaside city, art is everywhere. There are smaller communities within the city and they all appear to have their version and appreciation of art.
I guess, Long Beach artists are really no different from any other city's or community's artists. But, to me it seems that Long Beach artists take the seriousness of their art to new heights - without all of the snootiness.
Initially, I started visiting the city of Long Beach as a get-away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Los Angeles. Geographically the cities aren't very far apart. But, in terms of enlightening experiences, Long Beach beats LA, hands down, in my opinion. And, for me, at least, the Long Beach artists have greatly contributed to my affinity for the city - and for art.
There's art in restaurants, in coffee shops and coffee bars, on buildings, along thoroughfares, in city hall, and of course their impressive collection of art houses, art shops and art museums. The art museums located in the city appear to go out of their way to welcome the art novice as well as the long time art enthusiast.
Long Beach Artists: The Music
And then there's the music! Long Beach artists are prolific in the music arts. The city is the home of the largest annual Blues Festival in America, the Long Beach Blues Festival. They are also the home of the annual Long Beach Jazz Festival. The last remaining 24 hours a day, 7 days a week jazz and blues radio station is located in Long Beach. Throughout the world, jazz is a treasured art form. Unfortunately, in America, jazz is becoming more and more difficult to find and enjoy. However, the city and the Long Beach artists are proud advocates and standard bearers for the arts (especially including music) - a beacon of light in a massive fog of popularity trends, 'idol' worship (as in American Idol), and fast-fading fads.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not an art expert. In fact, I had no idea how much I enjoyed art until I became familiar with the Long Beach artists. As I said, I began visiting Long Beach because it was a close (yet, culturally distant) relief from the city of Los Angles. There is just so much to do in Long Beach, whether you're alone, as a couple or as a group/family. If I can steal a descriptive quote from the young, "Long Beach is the bomb." (By the way, that's a good thing!) It is not that I dislike LA. After all, it's LA! But, I know what I like and what makes me happy. And, for me, the city of Long Beach and the Long Beach artists bring "happier times to life."
Some might say it's the sunshine, the cleanliness of the city, the sprawling beaches, the friendly enclaves and sub-communities, and the closeness of the magnificent Pacific Ocean. And, all of that may be so. But, trust me, the Long Beach artists contribute to the best attributes of the city. And I'm glad that I found this nugget by the sea.