Welcome summer!

We like the sunshine, but the heat? Well, we find work-arounds, don’t we? Iced tea. Skating at the mall. Relaxing in the pool. And good, solid amounts of time indoors for creating art, performance, and writing! Those are definitely great ways to beat the heat.

Things are also heating up around the world as people struggle to come to common agreements, see each other’s perspectives, and work together. Mark Maron was musing on his blog several weeks ago about the power of art to fight fear and hate and make a big difference. He continued, realizing that big differences are hard to achieve at times, but little changes are essential. He states, “Every little expression of human creativity and imagination is a celebration of the pure human spirit – without boundaries or restrictions or even rules.”

I think of the storytelling I hear when I attend The Moth (2nd Tuesdays of the month, downtown at the Warehouse Live) and how those moments when the audience’s rapt attention erupts into enthusiastic claps, cheers, and whistles. A brave storyteller has brought us together with one little story, and we leave better humans than we were when we arrived.

Peggy Sexton’s Boogle Houses are charming, fascinating creations that make me want to shrink myself and join the world of tiny things. I want to climb those miniature ladders and live way up high inside those exciting and exquisite buildings perched on the edge of a piece of wood or a rock. That must be a fantastical and beautiful world I think. Peggy’s Boogle Houses allow me the chance to escape, fantasize, and celebrate what art can do for the spirit. One little creation – and look what it can do. As many of us joined together in Peggy’s honor at Archway Gallery, it was another indication of how much art can show us how we’re more alike than different, and bring us together – to celebrate, to mourn, to learn, to grow.

I’ve been twice to the 4th Wall Theatre at Silver Street Studios in the last month. I’ve come away having been transported to another place, learning through the characters, seeing a new perspective, agreeing - or not - with the choices being made. “Lobby Hero” had such amazing dialogue between the actors, and the play forced the characters (and the audience) to consider morality from different perspectives. “Cry Havoc” was an amazing one-person show about the horrors of war on its soldiers, and the difficult task of re-entry into one’s former life. Woven through were timely pieces of Shakespeare. The actor came out after the performance to meet with the audience and debrief us on his own personal journey. And then he invited audience members who were military, or had military family members, to share their experiences. The connection and respect between audience and actor and between all audience members were palpable and extremely moving. We walked out of the theatre changed people.

Picture a literary reading, perhaps at Archway Gallery. While the author is reading, a phrase or line connects deeply with the audience, and there is an audible, “mmmmhhh.” That is creativity crossing the space between people and helping us hold each other’s hearts. Archway holds monthly readings on the 3rd Thursdays at 6:30.

This city abounds with opportunities to open ourselves to art and community. First of all, come to your own WiVLA meetings! They are inventive and inspiring. Try Creative Mornings. Attend a lecture at the Museum of Fine Arts. They show wonderful films as well. What better connection than a film and a post-film glass of wine to discuss the movie? 14 Pews is another art house film location. There are galleries galore all over the city. Meet the artists – connect with their why and how. Attend a dance performance, whether classical ballet or contemporary dance. Look for a September performance by Fly. The Menil waits quietly for us to enter and breathe in the art. Take an art class or workshop, join a critique group, attend a reading, grab a friend and go somewhere interesting. Make the world a smaller and better place by appreciating and celebrating every little creative moment that has been offered up by a brave soul.

Cori Austin

"An ekphrastic poem is like a jolt of electricity surging through a work of art."
- Patricia Smith, ARTLines2

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