Is Writing Not Art?

Is writing not art? Then why aren't writers selling at ArtWalk?

Heard of ArtWalk?

Sure you have. Many city and suburban downtowns host monthly ArtWalks. Businesses host art on the wall and invite artisans to sell their craft around their stores or bars. And buzzed tourists are friendly with their cash through purchases of art or store products or booze.

My friend Pam asked me to help her sell GYMAI Designs t-shirts last ArtWalk at the local wine bar. I was in charge of manning the t-shirt display, handling the cash and packaging the sold t-shirts into a nice bundle.

GYMAI designs t-shirts at Flagstaff ArtWalk
Want a t-shirt? Email

And, of course, drinking a chilled glass of white wine.

ArtWalk means art and wine. But where's the writer? Is writing not art?
Ah, art and wine…

The downpour rain was a blessing. Stranded wine connoisseurs took their time to really study the art and talk to the artisans about their paintings, jewelry and t-shirts. It’s these conversations that bring a personal connection to the art.

Because art has a story: Where its inspiration came from, how it was created and why the artist chose this form of expression.

Like Rachel Greig. She explained to a gathering crowd how she found a horse skull in a faraway field and spent months scraping brain matter from its bones.

Rachel Greig's skull art at Flagstaff ArtWalk

Cool, right? Or just plain gross.

As I surveyed the paintings, drawings, jewelry and t-shirts around the wine bar, a thought crossed my mind: Where are the writers?

I haven’t attended an ArtWalk where writing was featured. I’ve never seen exposed brick walls featuring framed poetry or tables showcasing a writer’s novel or café stages as a platform for short plays—during ArtWalk, that is.

Is ArtWalk a no-writers-allowed kind of club?

I’m not saying that writing is never celebrated by a community. Cafés often host heated poetry slams. Bookstores dedicate shelves to local authors. And theatres are eager to produce locally written plays.

But when it comes to this monthly tradition, writers are simply not in attendance to sell or display their craft.

Writing would be a hard sell at ArtWalk. You can’t just look at the book jacket and know that the words inside will move you. It takes a reader time to study the synopsis and browse the first few pages before making that purchasing decision. It takes time for the audience to watch a play being performed.

But it’s not called ArtPause. It’s called ArtWalk. The event is designed to entice the clientele to move from one store to the next, from one wine bar to another pub.

Maybe it’s not that writing isn’t art, but that writing is art intended to be experienced differently. Writing is about creating the art to be viewed inside one’s mind through the words on the page. Writing demands the audience’s attention and imagination.

Can writers find a way to make ArtWalk work for writing? I hope so.

Do you think writing is art? Share your thoughts below.

1 Comment

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head! Writing isn’t, typically, a “visual” art. (Some forms of poetry notwithstanding.) If a picture is worth a thousand words and there’s fifty pieces of art hanging, one does not have the luxury of viewing an entire novel while moving expeditiously through a line of alcoholic-beverage-of-choice infused patrons.

    As for creating a WriteWalk, I think it would have to include a short, powerful passage chosen by the writer and included on an interpretation of the writer and an artist. But that, I suppose, is just ArtWalk.

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