Making It in an “Outpost”

The concept of “making it” in the US is changing. In a post-crash, OWS world, the previous generation’s ideas of success are being reconsidered and reinvented. It used to be that if you wanted to “make it” as an artist, the most obvious thing to do was to get the heck out of Dodge (or wherever), cram yourself— along with everyone else— into a tiny apartment in New York, and cross your fingers you’d be transformed into a beautiful, shiny Big City butterfly. To be sure, this kind of metamorphosis is tried and true, and will never lose its adherents. However, a growing number of artists and activists today are taking to heart the “act local” philosophy and deciding to stay put in or move to smaller cities and towns across the country. They are taking advantage of cheaper costs of living and relying on social media and other kinds of online connectivity to get the word out about their projects to a wider audience, or simply being content with speaking to a slightly smaller one. Instead of heading somewhere else to “make it,” these individuals and groups are producing and activating right where they are—they are “making it”— whatever their it is— right at home.

Creative living has never been a centralized phenomenon. For almost a decade, a group of friends living in an intentional arts community in Providence, RI, aware of interesting projects and people in similar scale cities around the country, had been kicking around an idea for a publication. Our main idea was to explore and illuminate the arts ecologies of underexposed cities— creating a snapshot of edgy, of the moment artists, collectives and punk houses, visionary developments and arts-based community organizations. We wanted to dive both into common aesthetics, goals and methods being used as well as the unique socio-historical context and flavor of each place to discover what makes each location (and its associated output) unique.

Outpost Journal is the natural outgrowth of our interest in what happens in a creative culture that is thriving in urban environments across the country. An annual, non-profit print publication, each issue is an interpretive exploration of a different city via photography, design and various creative additions. Part fine art book, part guide, and part lifestyle journal, our intent is to celebrate flourishing art communities that are definitively “making it” on the geographical fringes of the mainstream marketplace.

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