Thoughts for the Future
David Collins hopes that his artistic journey in the Lakeland community will pave the way for other artists with ideas for public art projects, and will continue to bring joy, art, and attention to the Downtown community.
“There’s just something about spontaneous art projects,” he says. “Art has a different edge when it is unexpected and unsanctioned; when it just pops up over night.” This is why Collins says that he is sure that he will “break the rules” again. His boundary-pushing nature is, perhaps, the role of art in society. After all, had Collins not pushed the limits with a simple chalk swan, the city would not be fostering the artistic community in the same way that it is today.
Collins plans to continue pushing the limits and building the artistic community in Lakeland, but this time within his own four walls. He has recently purchased a building in the Dixieland community that will soon become home to The Working Artist Studio and Gallery—the WA, for short. The space will feature a rotating contemporary art gallery, featuring the work of the very best artists that Collins can attract, and becoming Lakeland’s very first independent contemporary art gallery. The rest of the space will serve as rentable studio space for twelve artists. With this space, he hopes to mentor, sponsor, collaborate with, and inspire emerging artists’ creative spirits. In this mentorship, Collins has set the goal of deconstructing the concept of the “starving artist” in Lakeland.
“Those two words do not need to go together,” Collins insists. “If we approach art differently, approach it as a business, it will be profitable.” Collins believes that, to be successful, artists need to have a goal and a plan; to know their next show, their next step. And he wants to be the one to help them get there.
“If you think you can, you can,” is Collins’ motto. “But that goes both ways. If artists don’t value themselves, no one else will.”
With this unique perspective on the artistic community, Collins hopes to move Lakeland toward becoming the center of arts in central Florida. This hope, in Collins’ eyes, is not such a far stretch from reality.