How tempting it is. I long for days when I can just bury myself in my studio. I love being surrounded by my artmaking things, going back through my sketchbook, sitting and just looking at works in progress to envision what’s next. Solitary work is pleasing.
But, wonderful things happen when I leave the studio and become involved in the community. Wonderful for me. And, I have to believe, important, in the way that all the simple, huimble contributions of community members add up to shaping the character of the world.
This week, after a coffee meeting in downtown DeLand, I shot this picture of an electric box covered with a digital image of my artwork. The sun was lighting up the box nicely – as if it were posing for me. It was a simple and good affirmation of the value of public art in our community. My work is only on this box because I responded to a call-for-artists. And that only took place because some volunteers had vision for this project and did all of the legwork needed to make it happen. Now, people I talk to in town, even if they don’t know I have anything to do with this project, say, “Wow. Have you seen those cool boxes around town with art on them?” Simple, small additions to the fabric of life.
The coffee meeting I attended will create a project less visible. My Rotary club is working with the other two Rotary clubs in DeLand, along with the Early Learning Coalition, to fund a program that sends books every month to preschool children in our community. When it’s up and running, there will not be visible things on street corners. But the lives of these children will be better. And it will only happen because groups of people cared enough to attend early morning meetings, write grants, talk on the phone and e-mail other people to ask for help, and do the legwork to make it happen.
Solitary artmaking is pleasing. Living my whole life alone and un-connected would not be pleasing.