big INCH is coming to you from Anderson, Indiana; dedicated to all the young artists who could’ve moved somewhere else, and didn’t.
20 years ago, Anderson was an economically thriving place, with its own factory(s), university, shopping malls, etc. When the factory(s) began closing, the whole town shriveled. Since the current economic decline, this all ready depressed area is convulsing. Many of the local schools and businesses have closed, and all sorts of abandoned, decaying buildings are found throughout town. The University is still here, though, and it provides some jobs for the local people as well as a constant flow of youngsters moving through the place. The University is run by a liberal (yes, liberal) Christian denomination, and consequently, a lot of young activists become acquainted with the reality of poverty by simply living here while attending college.
Theory marries reality, and consequently, this town serves as an example of why, if you are so inclined, it isn’t a requirement to leave the country on a Mission Trip or join the Peace Corps to help the needy, work on a community development program, or start business initiatives. Why go? We have it right here! So, many graduates stay and help keep things afloat. Watching these intelligent, energetic young people fore-go their dreams and ambitions for a few years to help the community around them is an incredibly beautiful, awe-inspiring thing. It’s taught me quite a bit, and as I grow older, one of the best, most hopeful things in my life is learning from the younger generation. It gives me courage.
I too, chose to stay. This is my home, I won’t run away. I am an artist. Currently, I’ve read about the politics behind the Arts and Crafts movement in England and am working on unfired clay pieces that are being left as gifts in different parts of Anderson, the “Seeds: Pass It On” project.
big INCH focuses on the potential of things, using what ‘s available, and creating beauty. Aren’t those the basic ingredients of any culture? “If not here, where? If not now, when?” I mean, Paris didn’t become Paris overnight…