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Leaving the Big Apple

When my husband and I decided to leave New York after living there for two years, we wondered if we were doing the right thing. New York, after all, is the center for the visual arts in this country, and both my husband and I are pursuing careers in the visual field. “Only a crazy person would leave the top-rated museums, blue-chip galleries, access to rare art supplies, and vibrant art scene that is New York.” we said. But after much thought and deliberation, we decided we are those crazy people. We are the kind of crazy people who leave the art wonderland of New York and live to tell the tale.

Why, you ask?

Escape from New York

Escape from New York

My husband and I each had our own reasons, but because this is my blog, I’ll just skip over his and talk about my mine. (Sorry, Ryan!)

The first reason was the laundry list of “side effects” that come with life in New York, all of which are antagonistically opposed to the creative lifestyle. The prohibitively high rents on teeny-tiny studio spaces, an art scene that is huge and confusing and often highly political, and the sheer quantity of hassles and distractions from the creative work at hand are just a few of the things New York artists have to contend with.

This is not to say that New York or its art scene(s) are bad. Far from it! New York is a vibrant city with vibrant art scene, world-class everything, and cache coming out its ears. If you have the iron will required to put up with the bad parts, New York offers treasures untold and it will unfold them for the patient and the tenacious. It is an awesome (in every sense of the word) place to live.

A Manhattan nocturne

A Manhattan nocturne

But a lot of other places offer “treasures untold” as well, if only you are willing to wander off the beaten path to find them, which brings me to my next reason for leaving New York.

In New York, there seems to be a widely held belief that once you step outside the city lines, you enter an artistic and cultural wasteland. That the rest of the country is nothing but Thomas Kinkade galleries and church craft fairs as far as the eye can see. I had a number of people say to me “you’ll never find artists this good outside of New York” or “you’ll never see a show curated this well outside of Chelsea” or “”you’ll never see an art scene as cutting edge as the one in Bushwick”. People said these things, but I never quite believed them.

The reason I never believed them was because I had seen artists that good, I had seen shows that well curated, and I had seen art scenes that cutting edge. In my home town (Raleigh, NC), my undergraduate college town (Greenville, NC) and in my previous place of residence (Orlando, FL), I had seen all of those things. Maybe it was all on a much smaller scale than New York and maybe there was more amateur work to wade through to find the good stuff, but the good stuff was there. And I’m taking it upon myself to find more of it.

This is not our actual vehicle

This is not our actual vehicle

That brings me to my blogging mission.

My husband and I will be buying an RV and traveling around the country for about six months. (A crazy once-in-a-lifetime trip to end all trips!) On the way we will be stopping in communities large and small, and I will try to find galleries, artists, and scenes that tickle my fancy and share them here with you. I will also be posting my own work, finished and in progress, and tidbits about the journey.

My goal is to connect people to artists and art scenes that they don’t get to see a lot of, to show you the work that is hidden away in smaller cities and towns. Please feel free to comment or contact me, and suggestions are welcome.

So please, whether you live in New York or Nebraska, join me on this adventure, and lets discover more of the “good stuff” together.


About Elizabeth Shupe

My name is Elizabeth and I’m a visual artist and a writer. I recently graduated from a MFA program in NYC, and while I was there I realized that there has been a lot written about the art scene in NYC, but not a lot of attention paid to the equally brilliant artists working outside of the sprawling metropolis. With this blog I hope to rectify all that. My husband and I are buying an RV and taking a long trip around the country, and on that trip I will be dipping my toes into some local art scenes and discovering the artistic talent that exists far outside of the art hubs of Bushwick and Chelsea. Please join me, and hopefully together we can find some hidden gems!


4 thoughts on “Leaving the Big Apple

  1. Awesome Beth … Since I know u both … I so see your reason for a somewhat long road trip! What a blessing it will be to see thru your eyes where u go and what catches your attention. Just hoping per chance that maybe just maybe I will be able to hug your neck along the way. Excited to see some pics of works finished or in process of your soon! Of course I’m stating the obvious in saying I LoveLoveLove your art. It hangs in many rooms of my house. Give Ryan a big fat hug for me!


    Posted by Mendi | September 9, 2014, 10:01 pm
  2. Please keep me posted of your timeline to Orlando! Every time u guys have been back to Orlando I didn’t get to visit. I need my Beth n Ryan fix!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Mendi | September 10, 2014, 1:32 am
  3. Bon Voyage Elizabeth and Ryan.
    Can’t wait to hear about your travel adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Aunt Reenie | September 11, 2014, 4:50 am

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