In my very favorite book arts store in Minneapolis,
I came across a sweet little accordion book entitled Reasons for
Art. Regula Russelle letterpress-printed it and created
the book, which was inspired by artist Mary Frank’s list of personal
reasons for art, to which Regula added her own. Here is the
compilation, the first three being Mary Frank’s. The comments
following each are my own.
Reasons for Art:
Are you ready for art? Take a deep breath and open the
door…. You will be changed, you will feel, you will wake up!
Please feel free to add to this list of Reasons for
Art. I would like to put your ideas on this list with the
- To AWAKE the LIVING – Isn’t this why
we visit art galleries, museums, public places – to be changed, to
be woken up, to see a new perspective? We make art to wake
ourselves up and to find out what is inside that needs to be
brought out into the light.
- To COMFORT the DEAD – (I’m not quite sure how to respond to
this one….. anyone?)
- To KNOW MIGRATIONS of SEASONS, of BIRDS, of FISH – Think of
how often the natural world becomes muse to one’s creative
endeavors. Many of us acutely feel the natural world’s
rhythms. The changes of the seasons, the wildlife, the woods
and oceans, all can cause a sensitive soul to respond with her
personal creative language.
- To LAUGH, to LOVE - Laughing and loving are two of the best
ways to feel the life-force within oneself and let it bubble up
and out. Some of us laugh with paint, others love with
words. There are so many ways to express the joy we feel.
- To LAMENT – Art is a place to go, a way to express the grief,
terror, sadness of the times that try our souls. Solace can
come from within as the darkness is made visible.
- To INVITE REFLECTION – When one expresses her inner self
visibly, her heart has been unzipped, opened, and examined. Others
able to participate in this expression also have the opportunity
to go on a similar journey, opening a heart as well.
- To INSPIRE ACTION – Movements have theme songs, poetry,
symbols, all of which propel the activity forward. Art can
sell a cause, create sustenance for it, and bring visitors to an
event. Sometimes it is a personal journey of action, a
- To HONOR the EARTH – I think of all the Native art that has
paid homage to the beauty of this earth. A Navajo rug in
earth’s dusty colors, an Inuit soapstone carving of a polar bear,
a decorated clay pot made to beautify the daily tasks -- all
bring beauty to life’s routines.
- To cultivate BEAUTY, GRATITUDE, JOY – Creating what is
beautiful, maintaining gratitude for the graces of one’s life, and
finding joy in the daily moments of existence all help us fashion
a positive outlook, a purposeful reason for existence, and a
joyful state of being.
- To knit an EXPANDING WEB of COMMUNITY – This speaks directly
of WiVLA, doesn’t it? We learn from each other, celebrate
successes together, exhibit and read together. The buyers,
enjoyers, appreciators of our work join our community and
become part of our extended family.
- To GIVE VOICE – Many times art and creativity are the best way
of expressing deeply felt yearnings or pain. Sometimes
everyday language just isn’t enough; a poem is needed to clarify
and distill the emotion into a special form. Some people
express through color, some through gesture, others through
song. Creativity gives us a voice.
- To TOUCH – Sometimes it is a gentle nudge on the arm, from
that painting over there on the gallery wall. Other times it
is a grab of the front of the shirt and a shake, the response is
so visceral. Art is here to wake us up, open us to deeper
reflection, and let us feel different than we were when we walked
into the room.
- To CONNECT – We come together, artists,
appreciators; writers, listeners; dancers, viewers; singers,
listeners. We are all part of a creative community, and we
all learn and grow from each other’s courage. Through our
togetherness, we make life beautiful, we grow together, we
safeguard what is precious, and we make this world a better place.