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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 16th day of Awakening, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 75 > Articles > A Call to Arts

A Call to Arts

by aristaea

THE DEEP CATACOMBS - "Welcome to Neopia's Arts and Literature Centre, this is one of the great secrets hidden deep beneath the main town. What wonders do these ancient passages hold?"

So proclaims the sign that greets visitors to the Deep Catacombs in Neopia Central. I've been playing Neopets for about six months now, and during that time I've taken my share of trips to the Deep Catacombs, mostly for the coffee. Sure, I browsed through the Art Gallery and checked in on the Poetry Contest. I made use of the How To Draw section and once or twice I sat around the Campfire for a while. And although it isn't located in the Catacombs, I even stopped by the Beauty Contest a couple of times.

Why? Because I was on a hunt. My quarry? The all elusive community of Neopian artists. The Deep Catacombs is allegedly the centre of arts and literature, but the artists and writers inhabit other parts.

A Guild search yields unpromising results, and I suspect that a large majority of the guilds for serious artists are private. (It is entirely possible that I am looking in all the wrong places.) The closest thing the message boards have to an art section is the section entitled "Beauty Contest." I went in there once, and immediately became lost in the mire of attempts to beg or bribe votes from other members. Of course, I have my own opinions about the Beauty Contest, and I'm not really that surprised at my findings.

I really enjoy the Art Gallery, as it houses some wonderful pieces, but just looking at art is only half the fun. Discussion is what completes the experience. Not only that, but most artists benefit hugely from critique - something that is absent in the Catacombs.

I'm not sure how large the artistic community in Neopia is, but I suspect it's not small. I also suspect that the reason it's difficult to find is because it has been broken into smaller groups through the creation of Guilds. Don't get me wrong, Guilds can be wonderful things, but they also fracture the community. Neopians can only belong to one Guild at a time, and can't have discussions in Guilds they don't belong to.

Why does this bother me? Because I think that the Guilds are too competitive. Many Guilds want to be the best and biggest and richest, and this attitude can infect Guild members, to the point where some Neopians will refuse to talk to people who aren't in their Guild. And with the already reclusive community of artists, it becomes nearly impossible to find an open forum in which Neopians can discuss their work.

Some might say that there are other places online for artists to gather, but my problem is this: a lot of the online art communities that I frequent are dedicated to specific types of art; for example, Artistic Alley, a Harry Potter fansite. I want to discuss Neopian art, the kind that appears in the Art Gallery and (sometimes) the Beauty Contest. I want a place where I can run to get help with a particularly difficult stanza of a poem I'm writing for the Poetry Contest or get opinions on the title of a Times article. I happen to like the Guild I'm in right now, and I don't want to have to Guild-hop constantly just to get opinions on my art. I think Neopia needs a place where artists (and I use the term to include both the visual and verbal kinds) can gather freely to share and comment; where the inner workings of the creative mind can be picked apart and rearranged; a true community of Neopian artists.

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