Major or minor, epic or commonplace, the arts are the works of the spirit. They are acts of love that unite and “spiritualize” our lives.
– Laurence G Boldt in Zen and the art of making a living
A Chat with a Gallerina
A couple of nights ago I had a wonderful discussion about art with my good friend Jacki Glick, a girl with fascinating experience as a “gallerina” and inspiring dreams for sharing her experiences with the world. With a background in public relations, production, and media, Jacki has big plans to establish new forums for connecting the general public to the “exclusive” world of fine art. She explained to me the sad situation that many of us find ourselves in today, disconnected from the idea of art and contemporary artists:
We tend to imagine current artists as fitting with the cliche of the “struggling artist,” too out of touch with reality to get a “real” job and drowning in a self-indicted pool of depression, self-pity, and disillusionment. We are more inclined to purchase prints of artists long-passed and of wolrd-wide popularity, rather than supporting local artists with incredible talent. We go on far-reaching trips across the globe to acquire overpriced prints, when art bought for our homes could instead be representative of who we are and where we find meaning in life.
While I am a huge art history fan and love learning about the incredible artists of the past, I have come to realize (with Jacki’s help!) that there is a large gap in the way we connect to art and living artists today. In acknowledging this misguided image of local and contemporary art, I see tremendous opportunity for redefining the role of art in my life, and using it as a medium to connect to deeper meaning and engagement.
Murals, Activism, & Youth Engagement in Brooklyn
Groundswell Community Mural Project, an organization I had the pleasure of exploring while I was in Brooklyn last month, is a perfect example of using art as a gateway to meaning and connection. By collaboratively building mural pieces they “beautify neighborhoods, engage youth in societal and personal transformation, and give expression to ideas and perspectives that are underrepresented in the public dialogue.”
Groundswell combines the efforts of disadvantaged youth in the local area, professional artists, and causes of social activism to produce beautiful murals that adorn the walls of the Brooklyn community buildings. Talk about innovative methods of youth engagement in policy and activism! (see previous post)
A Great Read!
In Zen and the art of making a living, Laurence G Boldt explains that using art, as Groundswell does so effectively, allows us to connect to a deeper universal aspect of humanity. By appreciating the role of art as a tool for this deep connection, we can experience the world of fine art that Jacki described and bring its beauty into our everyday activities and experiences.
Real art appreciation will produce not only more and better contemplative or “fine” artists but also better carpenters, nurses, scientists, teachers, humanitarians, and entrepreneurs, and most importantly, better (more awake) human beings. Art is for the sake of the living everywhere. It’s lessons, traditions, and revelations belong to us all.
In appreciating the place of art in life, (or as life itself), we can more closely connect to contemporary artists and locally-produced art, and develop new ideas for using art as a medium for change and engagement.
In creating this post I have been inspired to redefine the role of art in my own life, and I hope that for all readers out there (if there are any!) reading it will do the same. Would love to hear any comments or suggestions about related art projects, ideas, and other beautiful examples of creativity and connection.
Until next time,