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The Uncommon Life

The Biggest Supporter of the Arts

November 17, 2011

There was a time when Santa’s elves had to work hard in the months before the holidays, stuffing dollies, carving rocking horses from wood, and assembling shiny new bicycles. It seems as though letters to Santa have changed a bit, and now those elves are placing orders to Apple for iPads and checking parental advisory warnings to see whether the latest video games are suitable for youngsters.

Does any one out there still care about artisan made goods?

Letter to Santa & Letter to Santa (Back), magma666

Although those pointy-eared little fellas don’t get to use their artisan skills as much as they’d like these days, we know UncommonGoods shoppers do still appreciate high-quality, handmade pieces. With this in mind, our highly scientific data analysis team decided to find the Biggest Supporter of the Arts and give that city their due recognition.

We took a gander the sales of a few of our most artfully-made items including:
Stephen Kitras’ hand-blown Glass Globes
Traci Medeiros-Bagan’s Crocheted Headphones
Al Stephens’ Hand-forged Cheese Slicer

Lo and behold, Atlanta wins our title for Biggest Supporter of the Arts! But we’re proud to say Brooklyn’s not far behind.

Here’s the full breakdown of how our art-loving cities stood out against the rest of the country:

Atlanta, GA Atlanta is known as the cultural hub of the south. This peachy city hosts nearly 50 arts and culture festivals each year, evidence that Atlantans don’t just love handmade goods, they also like to party.

Brooklyn, NY For years, Brooklyn has been in the shadow of Manhattan’s art scene, with no Village, fewer well-known galleries, and cheaper food and rent (making it harder for artists to starve). Now, Brooklyn’s art culture is booming. The Brooklyn Museum rivals the MET, The Brooklyn Flea attracts hipsters, crafters, and all kinds of creatives, and neighboorhoods like DUMBO and Williamsburg are known for their studios and galleries.

New York, NY Brooklyn’s art-lovers came out a just a hair ahead in our analysis of art sales versus overall sales, but NYC holds steady in the top five. New Yorkers have long appreciated art, earning the city the reputation as the art capital of the world (we suspect that Parisians are still a little ticked over losing the title).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, plassen

Austin, TX Austin may not be home to a world-famous museum, but they do boast the Austin Museum of Art. Austin art fans can also visit Austin Art Garage, a gallery founded to highlight emerging artists while bringing affordable art to the people. We love the idea, but as far as we can tell from the photos on their website, the Austin Art Garage is not really a garage at all, so you’ll need to go elsewhere if you also need an oil change.

Chicago, IL The Art Institute of Chicago is in Chicago (which is good, because it would probably have to change it’s name). The world-renowned museum’s adjoined school, aptly named the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is often considered one of the best art schools in the United States. Sure, tuition is expensive, but fortunately artists make a ton of money right out of college, so new graduates won’t have to worry about student loan debt.

Art Institute Lion Wearing Bears Helmet , egvvnd

Actually, that last bit of information may not be entirely accurate. Do your part to help those art and design grads pay the bills by giving the gift of handmade goods this holiday season!

The Uncommon Life

Why is Austin so Angry?

November 10, 2011

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and as gift-giving authorities, we’re doing our part to stay informed of recent gifting trends. Many gifts are given with love;  heartfelt and caring with tears of pure joy. Others are slightly more abrasive. For example, consider our F-Bomb paperweight. Over the past few months we noticed that certain cities were purchasing an irregular amount of F-Bombs. Perhaps, we thought, this was indicative of a broader trend.

Maybe there are cities out there that are full of angry gifters? We had to investigate. We put our heads together and decided to visit every city in the country, going door to door, soliciting hugs, and counting door slams vs. warm embraces. We figured that the cities which slammed the most doors were the angriest. However, the logistics were a bit hairy. We called Santa Claus for advice but his cell phone service was terrible (he lives in the North Pole). Discouraged but not defeated, we decided to scrap the hugs across America model and asked our Organic Search Analyst to pull city-by-city data on some of our angriest products. To be fair, we decided to look at some of our kindest products as well.

So what else constitutes an “angry” gift? Gun Vases do, obviously. The following cities ordered more F-Bombs and Gun Vases than average, so maybe they’re a tad angry. Or maybe that’s where all our cowboys and crime fighters are… you be the judge.

Cincinnati, OH – From 1978 to 1982, Cincinnati had its own Emmy-nominated sitcom, WKRP in Cincinnati. Perhaps they never fully recovered from the cancellation of WKRP. Now that’s something to be perturbed over.

Alexandria, VA – They’re very generous, lending out their zip code to neighboring Fairfax. Still, having to take the overcrowded Metro into DC every day must be pretty infuriating. Plus, with a state motto like “Sic Semper Tyrannis” (Thus always to tyrants), an attitude seems to be in their blood.

Los Angeles, CA – If any group of people is known for being moody drama queens, it’s definitely Hollywood stars and west coasters in show business. After all, a lack of seasonal change can be pretty aggravating.

Austin, TX – Legend has it that Spanish Gold is buried in Shoal Creek. Treasure maps have been sold, a Travis County treasurer allegedly embezzled county funds to find it, but the bounty has yet to be uncovered. How frustrating!

Houston, TX – According to the City’s Official Website, Houston is home to a vibrant, youthful population. Hormones are a raging in Houston, so we’ll assume the dark gifting is the result of teen angst.

Sure, the angry gifts are funny, but some folks would rather give a mushy gift over an amusing one. Also, friendly gifts are less likely to prompt retaliation from disgruntled recipients. To determine which cities had the most happy-go-lucky gifters, we looked at the sales of some of our sunshine-heavy products. If our Random Acts of Kindness Kits, 5 Rules for Happiness Paperweights, and Love Tokens aren’t material replacements for bear hugs, we don’t know what is.

Dallas, TX – It makes sense that Dallas is at the top of the list. We’ve all heard those stories of kindhearted, fun-loving cowboys. They’re everywhere in Dallas. Even at board meetings in office buildings…

New York City, NY – We’re glad to see our hometown in the top five! Maybe our study will put the “rude New Yorker” stereotype to rest once and for all. After all, we do have big beautiful parks, a rich art scene and world class dining (we’re not biased or anything). The city that never sleeps may prove that staying active is the ticket to happiness.

Atlanta, GA – Atlanta is home to the World of Coca-Cola. Perhaps caffeine could have something to do with this city’s overflowing kindness…maybe we should have looked at purchases after 2 a.m.?

Los Angeles, CA – Yes, we realize LA was on our Angry list. As we said, they’re moody! Angry, happy. Newlywed, divorced. Famous, broke.

Houston, TX – Apparently, Houston is full of extremes as well. I guess those last vestiges of Southern hospitality are holding strong. Much like the Texas secession movement.

This post was written by Cassie Tweten Delaney, Zack Notes and Nina Mozes, without any academic peer review or serious fact-checking.

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