Why Art Is Needed During Times of Crisis
Our lives have completely changed in the span of weeks. We have gone from consistent movement to an almost complete halt. Everything we counted on for entertainment, provision, and security has shifted. What does art have to do with any of this? More than you think. While everything is shifting around and changing, the presence and practice of art can help us remember the constants that are still around us and in us.
Art reminds us of beauty: Have you found that when life is difficult, pausing to look at the sky, focusing on the smile of your child, or listening to a well written song can loosen the white knuckle grip of fear and anxiety and touch a deep place within you? That’s what beauty does. It feeds our souls in ways that facts, routine and pragmatism cannot. Can you imagine life without the things we think are beautiful? Sunsets, sunrises, the color red, a luxurious scarf, the singing of birds, the twang of our favorite clock, rich dark chocolate, etc. Our senses inherently connect with things we deem “beautiful.” We are drawn to those things. They meet needs we didn’t even know we had. Art does an incredible job of pointing us to beauty, which is something we desperately need in this life. Art that we connect with helps us reconnect with the beauty in our lives. It could be a memory, it could be a color, it could be a texture or a design that just brings you peace or excitement. But this raises a deeper question….why is beauty so important to us? I think that Makoto Fujimara gives us a good clue:
“. . . Beauty sits outside of time and space, breathing into our fallen world as an eternal whisper of our Maker.”--Makoto Fujimara in an interview with Eliza Thomas
Beauty reminds us that we are not just body, but we are spirit as well. Our spirituality resonates with the presence of beauty; our souls, the very deepest part of us, is fed with beauty. Beauty whispers to us that there is more to this life than the here and now.
Art reminds us of our humanity: Our humanity is so complex. To be human is to be filled with mixed emotions: sadness, joy, confusion, faith, doubt, anger, excitement, etc. To be human is to make strides forward then to fall flat on our faces. Being human means being vulnerable and art is the epitome of vulnerability! Art celebrates our humanity and having art in our midst, especially during difficult circumstances can remind us of who we are as human beings. That’s pretty special.
Art reminds us of hope: Lastly, art encourages hope. I think this is largely linked to beauty. Beauty inspires hope, thus, art helps us remember hope. Hope doesn’t become something we seek until we have a reason to need it. Difficult circumstances often have us yearning for this intangible. Take a look at some of the art that as inspired hope after some of our most challenging times. When we can create something beautiful in response to tragedy, challenge and despair, this points to the presence of hope. Of something better. Art helps move our gaze from the pain to the possibility of healing.
Right now, life is changing and shifting. What the future holds is unknown. I’m certain we will be OK and in the meantime, while we take one step at a time, let’s remember to make art a part of our lives because not only will it feed our souls, it will remind us who we are and give us a renewed sense of hope.
How have you been dealing with all the sudden changes? Have you found art to be a help during this time?