If you watch our website closely, you know that we have a number of European artists that represent a number of different countries and a number of different languages. It's been a very interesting experience to do business with them, because of this language barrier. In most cases they have some English speaking abilities, or contacts that do, and being American and dependant on others to adapt to my language, everything has gone pretty smoothly.
A couple of years ago, I was standing in the middle of a small Swiss village, having a conversation with our guide, and it hit me why Americans are so egocentric when it comes to language. In Europe, which developed long before we did, back when people traveled on foot or horseback of course and smaller countries developed their own languages. As the world became smaller due to changes in transportation and communication, these closely located countries had to learn their neighbor's language to function. Here we can travel by car for 3 or 4 days and still be in our own country. Of course we take it for granted that everyone around us should speak English. That's not to say it wouldn't be nice if I could learn a little Spanish. I did try to order my lunch in Spanish the other day at El Jeff, and everyone at my table was mortified, and the gentleman taking my order was politely telling me that he understood me better in English, and his English was rather broken. So much for my desire to speak a little Spanish.
Which all brings me to the point of art being universal. Recently one of our artists, Alberto D’Assumpção, sent us an email with a link to a blog about a recent exhibit he was in. I clicked on the link and it was in a foreign language, I wasn't sure I could even correctly identify, but likely Portuguese. I scrolled down and the art was there, reminding me yet another time, how universal art is. I love it, the language of art. How fulfilling it is to be reminded of our commonalities, rather than our differences.--Ruth Mitchell