As I recently blogged, certain sorry excuses for psychologists told the New York Times that art supplies are liberal commodities.
However, having lived in both the Phoenix Arizona area, a conservative "red" area, and the Washington DC area, a liberal "blue" area, I can testify that there were a lot more and better art supply stores in the Phoenix area.
The was a pretty cool art supply store in Georgetown on M street, but it went out of business in 2004. Whatever the kids at nearby Georgetown University are studying, it sure isn't studio art. There was a little art supply store in Foggy Bottom near George Washington University, but not big enough to be worth the trip.
The other art supply store I went to in the DC area was Pearl, which used to be off the Beltway near (but not in) Alexandria. It looks like the store has subsequently moved to the Falls Church area. Hopefully the new store is managed better, because the Pearl off the Beltway was a big mess.
There is a Utrecht Art Supplies in DC, but I have to confess that I never visited it because 1250 I Street seemed like an out of the way location.
Meanwhile, there is also a branch of Utrecht in Tempe near the University of Arizona. There was another little art supply store near ASU which had a larger branch in Scottsdale. And the best art supply store in the area is Arizona Art Supply, at Indian School Rd and Central Ave, which has an incredible selection of merchandise. And since I left the area, it looks like a Jerry's Artarama opened in Tempe.
There used to be a Pearl in Phoenix but it was way on the west side, so I'm not surpised that it closed down. The west side is the prole area of Phoenix. Art supplies buyers are middle class. But not upper class, because Paul Fussell made a big deal of pointing out that having paintings in your house that someone who lives there painted causes you to drop in class.
Both areas had several Michael's, but those stores sell art supplies for little old ladies and not real artists. So we won't count them.
And there you have it. Phoenix, a conservative "red" area, has many thriving art supplies stores. While in the Washington DC "blue" area, the art supplies stores can't make a profit.
Of course New York City has more art supplies than both Washington and Phoenix combined (including the original Pearl and the original Utrecht), but this is the art capital of the United States so it's not really a fair comparison.