Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why is Art Important?

Last night the Graffiti Art Gallery in Oil City held an artist reception for the current show listed below.

(Photographs of Nature and Architecture)
Sufana Chowdhury
Eleanor ter Horst & the
National Transit Studio Artists

If you missed the reception, don't miss the show! We are so fortunate to have a growing arts movement in our region! It's not only breathing new life into our economy, but more importantly opening hearts and minds to new possibilities.
Art - no matter if it is music, performing art, photography, painting, installations... - can provide a glimpse of someone elses vision of the world. It can open our minds to see our own world in a broader context. It can inspire us to express ourselves in new and interesting ways.
Learning to appreciate a wide variety of expressions helps us to learn to communicate better, to seek broader solutions, to think "outside the box." I believe art appreciation and encouraging artistic expression is the most important investment we can make to lead to a better community.
Why? Because it leads to invention. One must imagine something is possible before that possibility will ever be pursued.
Why? Because it forces us to see. We have to acknowledge that a problem exists before we can be motivated to solve it.
Why? Because we often overlook beauty and sometimes need to have someone put a spotlight on it to remind us that it is all around us.
Why? Because if we are to understand one another, we need first to learn that our point of view is not the only point of view.
Art can be shocking. It can be enlightening. It can be comforting. We need it all. We need to encourage expression. Encourage communication. Encourage understanding. If we can learn to do that in ways that may take us out of our comfort zone, in positive appreciation of varied perspective, we build better community.
I applaud the efforts of the Art Revitalization Movement in Oil City! And I am excited about the positive impact Art is having on the region at large.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Middle Ground

I am a great believer in middle ground. We each come from differing experiences and perspectives and more often than not, if we dig deep, opposing positions do really have some common goals. But all parties need to be interested in finding that middle ground!
So often we stand by in situations, not wanting to "get in the middle". We don't just look at who we believe is right or wrong but look at the outcome. Who is going to win? Let's make sure we are aligned with the "winning" side. Corruption reigns because of this attitude. Bullies win because no one wants to stand against them.
We moan. We groan. We talk among ourselves about how terrible the corrupt one is and all that they have done. But --- middle ground. "Do you stand a chance?", standing against them, ask the bystanders. If uncertain, the middle grounder will stay on middle ground waiting for the dust to settle.
On real issues, on those issues of corruption and criminal behavior, there is no middle ground! Standing in the middle when you are certain of corruption and criminal behavior is exactly the same as watching someone being beaten on the street and doing nothing. It is not middle ground. It is community negligence! Who is the next victim?
Are you standing on "middle ground" as a friend or neighbor is taken by a known con artist? Are you standing for anything at all?
Middle ground is the place we seek when all parties are truly seeking solutions and better community. Middle ground is not a place to hide from taking a stand toward solutions and better community.