Community Arts Reflection: 20 + years later
Going through my high school sketchbooks this week, I found long-forgotten notes to my grown-up self. Concerned about my future as a grown-up, I wrote about the role of cynicism in adult behavior: limiting their actions and beliefs and allowing them to use outdated information and excuses to avoid doing what was right. And then I wrote this Martin Luther King, Jr. quote: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Did I mean to have faith in the some wisdom gained in the aging process? – maybe things would work out even if I couldn’t quite see how or was I writing that the solution was to stay young at heart. Starting outdoor art events and programs with so many people doubting successful outcomes “in that neighborhood” or with “those participants” or in “that weather”, luckily has not made me question youthful common sense. Over and over and over, communities surprise themselves. People inherently want to help each other and will go out of their way to do so without any credit because it feels good or is fun. People want to make a meaningful improvement globally, are curious, and want to understand others. There is a hero in each of us…or just a kid’s heart.
With the latest advents in technology, we are more bombarded than any previous society with constant news of global tragedies and local crimes, which make us terribly susceptible to cynicism. If we don’t consciously make room to challenge the status quo, seek goodness in the world too, we can lose hope and the open-mindedness that allows us the space to be creative and solve the small problems within our grasp to fix.
Art Sphere’s volunteers make a creative difference that gives me that dose of positive medicine that rejuvenates my being, and I hope yours. With ever-growing faith in humanity from witnessing millions of small acts made from all ages to benefit others, we can see adversity as an invitation to create a better world.