Editor’s Note

On the Road

For observant travelers, every bend in the road entices us forward with a possible answer to that most basic question: What’s next? Sure, that answer is usually tract housing or strip malls, but  the possibility of discovery – and its occasional fulfillment – keeps us traveling the highways and byways in search of some refreshing alternative to the place where we choose to live and, in turn, who we are.

That possibility of discovery is also what keeps us going back to the gallery, the club and the theatre.

This month, we decided to combine the two methods of discovery, and I set out on a blind journey for art across the state (see “State of the Arts,” page 26). Over five days, I drove some beautiful roads, met some amazing people and experienced revelations, large and small.

I also found myself in the grips of a tremendous guilt.

The road, after all, is not all good. As I was reminded time and again while listening to the news of the most recent oil spill on my rental car’s radio, the oil industry that made possible my trip through this state’s countryside is also responsible for decimating so much of the natural world. As hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil spilled from a neglected oil rig into the Gulf of Mexico, I pumped twenty-eight gallons of gas into my car.

This is where I’m supposed to rationalize my decision to go on a road trip for the sake of artistic discovery. But I can’t. Art, for all its awe-inspiring beauty, is artificial. The natural world should not suffer for it. But sometimes it does. That is what we must all wrestle with.

Still, enjoy the issue.

Mark Baumgarten
Executive Editor

Sculpture of Chief Joseph
by Virgil Marchand,
found along Highway 155
in Nespelem.

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