Monday, March 31, 2008

The Audacity of Tenacity

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare.
It is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” --Seneca 5BC

I haven’t blogged for a while, I know. I’ve been knee-deep in the planning stages of opening an art school! CAVA (Cavender Academy of Visual Art) has been on the back-burner of my pea-brain for a while now, and it seems that it just might become a reality. The local newspaper had a write up about it in yesterday’s paper. So, the word is out! A meeting is planned. People are plugging in. Instructors are on board.

Here we go!

From past experience, I am expecting some flack about all of this. I am not quite sure why this always seems to be the case, but it is. I have actually had a couple of artists voice their disapproval of the idea already. Perhaps it annoys a few people that I get to do things that they wish they themselves were doing. (How dare I?) But the truth of the matter is –I only had the “vision”. I’m just a dreamer. Things like this just seem to happen in my life. I dream and it becomes reality. One dream after another. But it always, always, always involves group participation. I don’t have the kind of “stuff” it takes to pull things off on my own.

For the record: my motivation is not to promote my name. That was someone else’s idea. Besides, I have all ready made a name for myself on a local level (another one of those “it just happened” things). Local investors want to use my name and I can see the benefit of it. No, my motivation is to help my community keep the arts alive.

Where I live, there is a real need to keep the arts alive. The arts are always being threatened around here. There are several theories as to why that is. It’s really just a combination of things. But at the heart of this community is a tenacious core of individuals who are committed to keeping the heart of the arts beating. Could CAVA become the proverbial defibrillator that this art community needs? We shall see.

Here’s the thing---I have been blessed and I want to pass that blessing on to my community. I want our city to have a place where young people can find the help they need to launch an art career. I want a place where they can find guidance and inspiration on a regular basis. And I want a place where local art instructors feel appreciated and connected to something bigger than themselves. Like a family. That’s my dream. That’s my vision. I’ll keep you posted on how things develop.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Following the Leader

“We are human & humble and of the earth, and we cannot create until we acknowledge our createdness…An artist is a nourisher and a creator who knows that during the act of creation there is a collaboration. We do not create alone.”
Madeline L’Enlge
(Walking on Water)

“The artist works not to earn praise and adoration, or to avoid blame and hatred, but rather obeys that categorically imperative voice, which is the voice of the Lord, before whom he must humble himself and whose servant he is.”
Wassily Kandinsky
(Concerning the Spiritual in Art)

In my post of February 7, 2007, "Breathing through Creative Blocks", I wrote:

"Living a life of creativity is like breathing. You breathe in life and you breathe out life. I want to breathe in life as much as I can. I want to be aware of all of all my senses. I’m an aromatherapy freak. I love things that smell great. I love color. I visit my friend’s back deck to watch a sunset now and then. I take walks through a nearby park and will often bury my face in a hedge of flowers just to breath in the color."

I went on to talk about ways to "stop and smell the roses", so to speak, and how vital that is to keeping the creative juices flowing. You need to nurture your soul. It is also important to nurture your body. But I believe that the most import aspect of self-nurturing is that of the spirit. Feeding and nurturing your spirit is essential for the life and vitality of your creative nature.

In the quote above, Madeline L’Enlge calls the artist a “nourisher”. This suggests that there is a “calling” or a “mission” that an artist should be mindful of. If this is the case, then there is a responsibility on the part of the artist to “nourish”. Agreed? How do we act upon that? That is subjective and relative to each artist’s circumstances. Everyone has their own “mission field” as well as their own unique tools, gifts, talents, etc., in which to nourish their mission field.

The second quote by Wassily Kandinsky states, quite resolutely in fact, that artists are humble servants who obey the voice of God. I could not agree more. If I have a mission field of art patrons, art enthusiasts, artists, and curious onlookers, then my “calling” is to listen to the voice of God and obey Him by creating the most honest works of art I can to be placed before those in my mission field. The rest of it is up to God. Fame, fortune, favor…it’s not about me. It’s about opportunities. It’s about community. It’s about lifestyle. It’s about worship. It’s about having a proper self-image. But it is not about me or my ego.