A number of years back I wrote a blog post called: What’s The Point of Making Art When The World Is So Screwed Up?
Lately, we’ve noticed that that post has been getting a lot of attention, which made me think that it’s time to update it and add a special podcast episode on the topic.
Why Make Art At All?
Before you can even begin to think about business at a time like this, you might need to come to grips with an existential question: Why make art at all? Why make it now?
If you’ve ever questioned the reason for making art, you’re not alone.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, artists everywhere are questioning their purpose. Many artists are having difficulty getting in the studio.
It’s tough to be motivated when there’s so much chaos around us. Why make art when you have no place to show it? When people aren’t able to interact with your work?
Venues are shut down. Unemployment is skyrocketing. The kids at home require your attention.
With so many other things taking precedence, and with so much negativity in the news, you might begin to see your work as frivolous. Expendable.
Well-meaning thoughts might enter your head.
Shouldn’t I be out there saving people?
Shouldn’t I be doing something more important than making art?
First, you can absolutely volunteer to make masks, pick up dinner for a neighbor, or donate blood. And you should.
But that doesn’t mean you should stop making art.
There are at least 5 reasons why you should continue making art at this moment, and I cover them in episode 48 of the podcast. This post is a complete transcript of the audio.
Music by Wildermiss.
5 Reasons to Keep Making Art
1. Art is why you’re here.
Do you see that NOT making art isn’t going to save the world?
In fact, it is doing the opposite because one less person isn’t living their potential.
Not making art is depriving the world. Not only of the potential of your art, but of the entirety of you.
Making art makes you whole and allows you to contribute to the world from a healthier position.
2. Art encourages us to go within.
In all of the hustle of our techno-filled daily lives, art encourages us to slow down and venture within ourselves.
When we experience art, we escape to a place of peace and of contemplation. We are reminded of the richness of life.
We need art for respite.
Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
It’s a cliché, and yet absolutely true. Art nourishes souls.
But it doesn’t have this effect on everyone’s soul because not everyone is privy to experiencing art.
They didn’t grow up with it and, therefore, don’t have a place in their lives for it right now.
Art only nourishes the soul of the artist and of those who are privileged enough to experience it.
Privilege doesn’t have anything to do with income level. In this case, privilege means access. If kids don’t make art in school or take trips to museums, they are less likely to experience art as adults.
With so many people at home right now, kids aren’t getting their art classes. Thank heavens for online teachers, creative parents, sidewalk chalkers, outdoor sculptors, and online creators. We can all have a much-needed dose of soul nutrition if we pay attention on our walks and look for it online.
We are counting on you to bring it to us.
3. Art reminds us that we are all connected.
How delightfully ironic that art can be both a contemplative and social experience. While art makes it easy for us to go within, it also reminds us to look beyond ourselves.
I started college life as a painting major. I was a pretty good draftsman, but I never had the urge to paint every day.
What captured my fancy were the art history classes. Not because I loved memorizing slides, names, styles, and dates, but because the history of art taught me about the world.
Art was then and is now my entry point to history, religion, philosophy, geography, other cultures, mythology, science, revolution, and so much more. Art is a channel for experiencing the world.
In contemporary society, art unites us, but it does so differently than when we’re cheering for a sports team.
This was evident to me when I was immersed in Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors at the High Museum in Atlanta. And when I traveled to New York in 2005 to experience The Gates by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Central Park. It was a cold February and the park was brown. Thousands of people were out walking around the paths and through the flowing saffron gates—together.
We were simultaneously experiencing it individually and as a collective. People were smiling, laughing, and posing for pictures—gate after gate after gate. And this was before we all had cameras on our cell phones.
Neighbors got in the spirit of the event by hanging orange fabric from their windows just as one might hang the banner of a favorite football team. It was the Super Bowl for art!
Today you’ll find neighbors drawing homemade signs to place in their windows or sketching colorful chalk pictures in their driveways and on sidewalks for passersby. Art still connects us, even as we self-isolate.
During this coronavirus pandemic, the Getty Museum laid down a challenge on social media for followers to replicate famous works of art using whatever they have in their homes. I can’t stop looking at the creativity of all these people all over the planet! Some of the results are incredibly close to the original inspiration. Others are downright hilarious.
The replicated works I’ve seen are mostly from Western art, but run the gamut of styles. The funniest are those that get close enough to be recognizable, but include contemporary commentary.
We may be safe at home, but art is an experience that we can continue to share.
4. Art completes our humanity.
It seems appropriate to share the thoughts of poet, critic, and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dana Gioia, whom I had the pleasure of hearing speak at a conference in 2003. It made a huge impact on me.
His address, as I recall, was focused on the need for arts education but it could be equally applied to what we’re experiencing right now.
The Greek word for art is poiesis (to make) , which Gioia described as “a way of knowing the world” separate from but equal to science and mathematics. As we know, the latter disciplines carry much more weight in budgeting by lawmakers and those who set school curriculum standards.
When art is seen as a luxury, Gioia’s argument goes, it is considered unnecessary to our survival and our prosperity. We are complicated beings, not just analysts. We have emotions, desires, and fears that can’t be explored or expressed through science and math alone.
Gioia explained that art is used to educate children beyond analytical thought process. It’s used to teach them about their feelings. This comes in handy when, as adults, we are asked to find solutions for real-life situations and human challenges—looking deeper than facts and figures.
The arts foster individuality, freedom, and self-expression, the very ideals on which our nation is built.
Art is not a luxury, but absolutely necessary, to complete our humanity. It is “mainstream civic common sense,” Gioia said.
In a commencement address to Seattle Pacific University, Gioia drove it home: “Art … simultaneously addresses our intellect, our senses, our emotions, our imagination, our intuition, our memory and our physical body—not separately, but together, simultaneously, holistically.”
5. We need you to tell the story.
A few final words if you’re not already convinced that there is value in continuing to make art.
Let’s face it: Our world has always been messy. Yes, there has been much beauty and magnificence throughout the centuries, but there have been ruinous wars, brutal treatment of our brothers and sisters, and devastating natural disasters.
Artists have shone a light on inequity and injustice throughout history, even when they seem unbearable to view.
Francisco Goya painted the execution of Spanish patriots rising against Napoleon’s army; Picasso painted the horrific aftermath of the bombing of a Basque village by Spanish Nationalists; and Dorothea Lange documented the suffering of migrant workers, displaced farmers, and the unemployed during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression.
Cherished works of art have survived through wars, plagues, recessions, and depression. And they will be there for us when we come out on the other side of this pandemic.
You should keep making art exactly because the world seems upside down at the moment.
We need people devoted to communicating through the universal language of art to tell the story of our age—whatever that looks like for you.
Perhaps you depict it in a literal fashion as social commentary (like Goya and Picasso) or documentation (like Lange). But maybe not.
Maybe, instead, your approach is more symbolic or abstract. Or maybe you seek to unearth the beauty amid such ugliness. Or maybe you are an artist who is uninterested in responding to current events and prefers to stay the course.
Whatever you choose to make now, just keep making art. We need more people who hold tight to their creative vision. Who remind us to pause and go within, while simultaneously bringing us together. We will always need that.
That’s your purpose. That’s why you were put here and given the curiosity and talent of an artist. To abandon it now—or at any other time—would be tragic.
Music by Wildermiss.
Join the Conversation
I need you to be part of the conversation. I need to hear from you! Please leave a comment and tell me how you're faring.
And join me on Instagram using #ArtBizNow and bookmark ArtBizNow.com as a hub for art business resources during this crisis.
A version of this post was first published in 2014. It was updated and republished on October 3, 2018. All previous comments have been left intact.
153 thoughts on “The Art Biz ep. 48: Why Make Art Now”
Feelings of discouragement sure seem to be abounding lately in my circles as well, so this was a bright read and a nice change. Thanks Alyson.
PS. So very impressed with the new look of Art Biz Coach! Congrats 🙂
Thank you, Col. Discouraged because they’re not selling?
I couldn’t agree with you more.
Art has saved my life. It has rescued me from negativity.
I have guided my sons to find an artistic adventure and now I am guiding my very young granddaughters. It gives me great pleasure to see them light up inside doing ‘their art’.
I think one of the problems we have in our society is that many people do not have hobbies. Therefore their energies get misdirected.
Cathy: Your son and granddaughters are very lucky to have you in their lives.
Thanks, Alyson, for this reminder that what we do is so very important. We ARE saving the world and civilization, one creation at a time.
Thank you, Alyson! This is powerful encouragement. It’s so easy to think I’m the only one having those doubts. Thanks both for refuting them and for reminding me that doubts are never original 😉
What a blessing it is to make and offer art in this crazy, beautiful world!
And I love your new look too!
Thanks, Leslie. I’m glad we can all meet here and remember that we are 1 – not as alone as we thought.
Encouragement was exactly what I needed today. It’s so easy to disregard art and artists as unimportant in the grand scheme of things….but that’s not the big picture after all. Long term, art is what will survive and define our time here–in the minds of our children’s children for many generations to come.
Your words brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Making art because the world is so screwed up makes beautiful sense to me.
Sue: We need to make sure we don’t disregard ourselves.
Art is NOT a luxury … it nourishes the soul. That’s what I’ve always claimed. Great post Allyson, for artists and art lovers alike.
I endorse this post with an emphatic YAS! I never feel complete unless I’m making art and I’m thankful to be able to say that I can see how my work impacts my audience. I had a solo show a few weeks ago and it was so rewarding to listen to how people responded to the colors and imagery. Your post is so timely!!
Nice, Jaimee! Those solo shows are so important for the validation and feedback.
Thank you, Alyson! This hit close to home and brought a tear to my eye. Surrounded by ‘practical minded’ people, I think about this topic often. Your post gave me some solid ammunition! 🙂
Judy: I am so happy it struck a chord. Keep up the work you do.
Thank you for your article. It is great when someone tells me that what I do is valuable. I just read this article by an industrial designer who tells people that art is important to all those STEM jobs and should be included in our education. http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/artsinSTEM033115.aspx
It takes all kinds of people and careers to make the world a better place. Thank you again for your encouraging words.
Thank you for sharing that article, Janelle. Really appreciate it. Now, if we could just get non-artists to think along the same lines.
Thank you for this thoughtful article! The very act of making art is a radical act. Artists are vital members of society who choose to reinterpret and think critically rather than participate in the surrounding oppression. Critical thinking is being actively discouraged in many parts of our country/world, because it doesn’t support the agendas of those in power. Art doesn’t have to be “political” in content to be radical; the decision and desire to create is already a political decision and one to be taken seriously.
Love it, Stephanie. I have never thought of myself as radical, but I think I could get used to it. 😉
Thank you for this thoughtful article. I have never understood why art is the first to go in school programs. I just figure cuts are done alphabetically.
A really wonderful article to read as a follow up is Why Art Makes Kids Smarter by Nancy Kalish. It was published in Parents Magazine several years ago. She writes what many of us have thought about.
This morning I taught art to two groups of “at risk 4 year olds”. We had a ball! I am not sure who learned more, me or the students. I may not be saving the whole world, but I did make a difference this morning!
Yay for doing your part Joan!
It’s so wonderful to hear you are doing this!
As an addendum to your comments on the dropping of arts and music in school curriculums, there have been studies that show that training in art and music help develop critical thinking skills in other areas as well. Studying music helps language skills, visual art training helps students learn more abstract problem solving skills.
Losing arts education does far more damage than just a lack of kid art for the refrigerator.
I am grateful that I grew up in a time when arts education was readily available. I am devastated that this is no longer the case, and fear for this generation.
If you let the thought of what a screwed-up world we live in, you might just as well give in, let depression take over and never bother to get out of bed.
I simply make art for me me and my world…its a place of colour [UK], love, light & happiness. It adds to my daily adventure IF I wake up [one day it won’t happen] its a whole day to be attacked with gusto with the gas pedal to the floor…yo-ho what a ride.
At the moment art is in my dreams, in my spare moment thoughts and while I’m here…I have a second illustration rush commission for the second Part of ‘Brian The Baby Dragon’ [The fist part is now available from my website]…and a third part at an early stage.
Simply put I’m too busy to worry about the world which has more problems than I could solve even if I was say: Bill Gates, Paul McCartney, Bono….
Yeh! got Gravatar to work!
A great response to that other article that has been stuck in my mind since it was posted about there being too much art in the world (the two art critics whose names escape me right now)…
As a teaching artist I have always known that teaching informs my studio practice and vice versa. One feeds the other, and I love both. I’m a licensed art educator, and have read a lot about the effect of art-making on children and adults. the studies are finally being done (we’re no longer just trying to convince people with our charisma and show and tell) and the evidence is building for the absolute necessity of divergent thinking in order to solve the world’s problems (hunger, climate, etc.). All may not become artists, per se, but they will learn ways of knowing and thinking about themselves and others that will make a huge difference. I see it everyday and I know it within myself. thanks again Alyson.
And I concur with others- the new site looks great!
Hi again Alyson and fellow artists.
Here’s a brilliant, funny and entertaining little video called “What is Art For?” by Alain de Botton.
I’ve posted it a couple of times on my Facebook page and couldn’t resist sharing it here too to be part of this great discussion. Have a look … you will love it!
Susan, that was a truly great video. Thanks for sharing!!
Thanks Susan – I really enjoyed the video and have passed it on to other artists and included it in my monthly newsletter.
Art offers everyone a pathway to experance life through prospective of time. It doesn’t need to be paintings on canvas or even watercolor on paper. It can be the simplest poem that speaks to your sole or a single cord of music.
A wonderful post, Alyson. My daughter teaches middle and high school art in Lyons, CO, so I get to see what happens with that. It is amazing to see the effect that making art can have on young people. The experience of creating an idea and carrying it to fruition into a finished piece of art is empowering, exceptionally rewarding and a true growth experience for many school children. In today’s world, using one’s brain and creativity in that way is rare. Many of these children take the class for a so-called easy elective and then they are flabbergasted when they see what they can actually DO with some art class structure and encouragement from a teacher. Art is many things to many people, but I hope it never gets eliminated from our children’s school experience. They learn about art by doing art and they are much more complete in their education for it.
Thank you! So many truths here and such good stuff! I am going to link it up on a short blog post so others can find it. I found it through a post at HKC http://www.his-kingdom-come.com/
At the MoMA last week I saw a class gathered on chairs around a Rothko. They were students from the University of Columbia medical school taking art as one of their required courses. The theory is that opening up to art increases the students’ creative thinking, and will help them discover new ways of responding to medical issues. Cool eh?
Love this post.
VERY cool, Barbara. Thank you for sharing that.
Many places are now adding art to the mix and are changing STEM to STEAM.
SWEET! Thanks, Sylvia. Wish I had thought of that. 🙂
Timely article for me. Been bogged down with political issues has been a downer for awhile. It is refreshing to me to read that making art is to make the world a better place.
Avoid the news if you can, Cat.
Three reasons: beauty, truth, and goodness.
Absolutely. Thanks, Richard.
I recently camped at Huntington Beach State Park and we visited Brookgreen Gardens, founded by Anna and Archer Huntington. Anna married Archer in her 40’s, was a world renowned sculptress, making a million a year from her sculpture. After the marriage, not only did the two found Brookgreen, the largest sculpture garden of American sculptures, but Anna never sold another piece.
She didn’t stop sculpting! She was giving away every piece. Because she no longer needed to make money. For Archer’s part, it was said that a new museum popped up every where he went.
This is what your article made me think of. Of course, not every artist, myself included, can afford to give away every piece. To me, the Huntington’s story is a great reminder that art is for everyone. And that it is actually mentioned in the International Bill of Human Rights as being a basic right to art, culture for all humanity.
What a joy that would be – to give away art.
I’ve never been to Brookgreen, but I have been to The Huntington. Gorgeous place!
For an inspiring answer to Alyson’s question, read John Paul II’s Letter to Artists. Here’s a tidbit from it: “Artists of the world, may your many different paths all lead to that infinite Ocean of beauty where wonder becomes awe, exhilaration, unspeakable joy.”
Nice! Thanks, Rani.
Thank you. This article is something I’ve unknowingly needed to find for quite some time now. Incredibly helpful.
As always, I appreciate your blog writing and defining clearly some of the benefits ALL persons gain from art within the world.
However, I rarely hear persons speak of realistic issues that one faces as an artist- it seems taboo and a social no no.
I have done extensive volunteer work for art organizations, which seem to benefit, such as non for profit and not for profits. Are the paid staff concerned about my welfare or interested in subsidizing my income by giving me some of theirs for my help?(most are not artists, they are biz persons)- of course not. I did it because of my belief in being involved, supporting the arts, meeting others.
Just another example is that most, a very high percentage that is, of art shows I enter, I must pay a fee.(they do this to raise income for the organizations) I consider my painting accomplished and my belief system is having a conflict with many rules in the art community. There are no entry fees to participate in the business sectors, or most other walks of life. Artists have always had little income, so penalize me more?
What about the persons who sell work(Christies, Sotheby’s) by well known artists? Do they ever support the arts by opening up grants, support systems? I apologize if I am unaware, and would like to be better informed. Did many of these artists live a meager existence?
Yes, I’ve had an epiphany. I’ll do my art for myself and look elsewhere for food.
Hi Jan, thanks for bringing up this “taboo” subject and asking some good questions. I’ve been wondering this same thing. Making art keeps my soul alive, but it doesn’t always lead to paying the bills, which result in keeping my body and soul together.
Thank you for this. I am an artist, the daughter of an artist and have a day job in an art museum. There are some days I really wonder why we do this. Most days I am all in, but there are those other days.. ugh. This helps, a lot.
Well said Alyson!
As some of us learned to say many, many years ago, “RIGHT ON!” Thank you for the reminder of the value of what we do.
Thank you Alyson for these poignant reminders. Despite politics and disasters of the day, art remains necessary and relevant.
Thank you I needed to hear this
Boy did this ever arrive in my Inbox at the right time!! I’m going to make some kind of morning meditation out of it to get myself back on track. Thanks, Alyson, for ALL you do-
Thanks for reading, Beth. So happy it came at the right time.
Hear, hear, Alyson. This is a good one and #8 is the best.
So beautifully said! And yes, art is not frivolous it is profound. Thanks for this post Alyson!
Of course painting and arts are important, but we allowed this idea to be hijacked sometime in the eighties I think. The STEM argument is interesting because one of the few activities that are not threatened by the new artificial intelligence field is … creative arts. So more art please – the world needs us 🙂
Thanks for this article and spreading the idea that creative arts are important on so many levels.
The world is only as “screwed up” as we perceive it to be. An integral part of the creative process, to me personally, is internal balance. The universe is in a constant state of movement. I find peace within.
Obviously, this post really hit on a hot topic for all of us as artists! I don’t have time to read ALL the comments, so if I repeat something already said, please forgive me.
Art DEFINITELY saved my life! Thank you Alyson for this post, it could not have come at a better time for me. I go back and forth between being an activist and an artist. I’m so torn some days. Should I run for political office or go back to my studio and make some happy, positive art? Currently, I’m in the go back to my studio mode. (I’d rather be in the studio! 😉 People have told me similar things in the past when I have felt like I’m not contributing enough to society. It’s so true, we NEED art in our lives. At least I know I DO! Thanks for the validation, Alyson. I’m so looking forward to working with you in the workshop next week in Golden. Thank you for all you do for artists. Whenever someone tells me they can’t draw a stick figure or they could never do what I do, I always answer with, “the world needs art appreciators as much as it needs artists! Otherwise, who would appreciate what we do?” Thank you for not only being an art appreciator, but an artist supporter.
Paula: I’m looking forward to seeing you here very soon. Yes, we need all kinds.
I would expand on #8 and say that Art helps us see the world more clearly. When artists like Goya and Picasso painted in reaction to civil war and uprisings, they illuminated the issues of their day. There are many ways artists bring attention to social or environmental issues. Art is a wonderful tool for raising issues, especially because it has the power to connect with people on an emotional level. The challenge is getting the art out into the world for people to see it and hear its message.
Eve: Do you think it’s always clearer? I believe that art, sometimes, gives us an alternative viewpoint which might muddy the picture. It causes us to question what we see.
All of these reasons are so true! I’ve also found that having my own schedule and setting priorities for my work leaves time for me to be involved in community activism. There are so many choices – but even just one will help us feel that we’re making a difference outside of ourselves, too.
In addition to my own art-making, I have found ways to teach art that are connecting people to issues and to their inner voice. INTER-GENERATIONAL art classes have brought elementary students into collaborative conversation and art-making with seniors – two age groups often completely isolated and unknown to each other on anything other than a superficial level. HUMAN JUSTICE and expressive arts with youth and teens has given them a way to talk with each other about their fears, anger, confusion…and to find their voices in visual art, theatre, writing and music. There are not many places that encourage them or where it is safe for them to express themselves. Giving them a display or performance venue lets others hear them, empowers and uplifts them. I’ve seen teens unwind and ask for help, veterans open up, seniors become animated and so much more. Art therapists are used with many trauma victims. We need more! I am not a trained therapist…just me. Often the very process of making art is the therapist! A book by Sean McNiff, called “Art as Medicine” is pretty powerful. Art completes us and fills holes in our being. Art is therapy whether meant to be or not.
Cutting arts education from schools is a tragedy. We are dooming ourselves! Classes in the arts aren’t looking to create a master race of art-makers. Rather, training in the arts opens minds, literally, giving us ways to see and think differently. The world needs more people with open minds and hearts to create new tools and find real solutions whether in engineering, medicine, social services, global interaction – ALL of it. The greatest thinkers and those we admire and need for their accomplishments have been empowered to be creative.
I’ve spoken to a number of professional organizations on this topic. So, that’s another thing we can do – share this perspective and help others see the true, practical value in the need to support the arts. It’s not an obligation but I hope other artists do get involved. There are many ways that artists can use a quiet, powerful voice – or a louder one! – to make a difference.
I know I’m preaching to the choir. Thank you.
Indeed! Art is not really a “universal language” if people are not taught how to read it.
Awesome! Thanks for that input, Trish.
Terrific post, Alyson! This reminder of all the important and wonderful aspects of art needs to be posted – very large – in the halls of government. I especially like your hashtag #SupportArtsEd and will include it every time I post on Instagram from now on. Many thanks!
I’m going to try to remember myself, Susan.
Dear Alyson, Bravo!!!! I knew you were amazing and part of the beautiful. Such a grand article, thank you!!!! Love to you and yours, Raymond D. Hunter, Sculpatora
Thank you for reading, Raymond.
I was just thinking this morning how I missed your weekly posts Alyson!!! You are prescient! Thanks so much for this. Could it have been posted at a better time? 2015 when it was first published looks like, such an innocent time now, doesn’t it??? “sad”… 🙂 🙁
Debra: Thank you for missing me! And for always being here and being so supportive.
Thanks so much Alyson – I too will spread the #SupportArtsEd as much as possible.
I do need to begin using it myself, Teri. Physician, heal thyself!
THANK-YOU amazing woman that you are…just at the right time, your encouragement has filled my heart and mind and especially my soul…who just doesn’t want to give up…
Thank-you for all you continually give us . XOXOXO Patti Zimmer
Patricia: Thank you for being here, reading, and chiming in.
4 reasons why artmaking brings life and why I persevere.
1. It gives creators an avenue to positively deal with trauma, confusion or any other overwhelming emotion.
2. It gives creators something to give, share, or sell.
3. Art transcends barriers and gives another avenue for connection.
4. Art making, art viewing, affirms our humanity.
Thank you for sharing those, Dawn.
Great post, Alyson! Did you know that “Gioia” means “joy” in Italian? I just shared an image on Facebook of a little girl standing in front of the painting of a dancer, while she imitates the pose in the art. How wonderful.
And timely, as usual. I will share with with a loved one who actually told me last night, “Lucky you to be able to live by sticking your head in the sand.” hahahha… all because I do not watch drama TV [I mean, news] and feel that my role in life is to try to swing the pendulum in the direction of positive qualities in life.
Kelly: Always great to see you here. Yes, I did know that, but I appreciate your connecting the dots.
I’m not sure I could stick my head in the sand, but … it might be worth a try.
Thank you for an insightful and inspiring article. It’s great to be reminded that art is a necessity, that it has a true function in the world, and that in following the Muse we are making the world a better place.
This is extremely timely – thank you.
I feel like social media buries my art and I often loose my voice in the creation process due to the negativity and constant conflict and continual drama.
I have a lot of very conservative friends and being very liberal has caused drops in sales – even likes and comments.
Thank you for this insight
Dallas: Are you intermixing politics with art? Maybe stay focused on the art. Remember “they go low, we go high.” 🙂
THANK YOU appreciate your wisdom, jane
You couldn’t have posted a better article for this time. I’m sharing it with several of our critique groups. The turmoil and negativity of the political divide has affected many of my artist friends. This is a good prescription for all. I really liked the video that one of your artists suggested. It put a smile on my face and warmed my heart. I’m posting that in my monthly newsletter as well. We can’t educate our clients and followers unless we give them some tools.
Looking forward to your talk.
Thanks for sharing the ????Diana.
Thank you so much for posting this. It is much needed at this time. At any time, actually.
Right?! That’s why I have to update and re-share every so often.
Thank you Alyson, for reminding me why I make art and why it is important. Absolutely STEAM!
perfect timing! I am at the point where I realized art – telling a story of how to fix the world is needed but I was hesitant to step forward. I am doing themes of permaculture, Earth care, People care and Care of the future – because we can fix things if we are willing to change or hearts just a little bit. I was contemplating the decision to commit when the phone rang. It was a scam call regarding an account so I checked my email to see if it was real; and there was your post. Decision made lol.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math), I love this Alyson! When they removed Art from Cytology science in Australia I found Art again and it is a kinder more positive social and inspiring world to live in! I will be sharing your article. Susan
To be clear, it’s not something I made up.
Bravo Alyson! Full STEAM ahead!
Since I firmly believe that art is the true basis for all the other STEM skills, I propose an alternate: ATEAMS. ART FIRST.
Thank you for this. I regularly ask myself those very questions and wonder if I should be “out there” more instead of “in here” creating art. Yet on a regular basis, my art gives me joy and gives others joy and that seems like a very good thing in this wild and crazy world. Making joy is worth a lot. Thank you Alyson, again.
Keep up the good work, Geri.
Full STEAM ahead – indeed! Thanks, Alyson for this great reminder of why I keep going back to my easel. The ‘keepers’ of our society are afraid of creativity and artists because we can’t be easily put in a box and controlled. Creativity is the anthesis of conformity. Artists have always been at the leading edge of society, often heralding new ways of thinking, which upset the status quo. Long Live ART!
And thank you for featuring my painting with your post 🙂
Absolutely my pleasure, Kadira, to share your art with everyone.
I love this article! It made me think of another reason to make art.
Artists have spread ideas in ways the folks of other disciplines were unable to. Art gives the emotional impact behind the words.
Good one, Adrienne. I was just looking at our photo together at your opening. !
Thanks, Alyson – I needed this. <3
THANK YOU FOR THIS POSITIVE ENCOURAGEMENT!!
…Just when I recently heard that more art galleries will be closing down here in Laguna Beach, = and this whole town was started by artists.
I paint because I love to paint,… I sometimes have to remind myself when art sales are slow.
I get very frustrated investing so much time in my art. Art raised me as a child when I started viewing the world differently. An Artist knows ur alwalys an artist even if u never pick up a paint brush again. Yes I get frustrated but art has been my ministry for 29 years of sharing the visual arts and transforming lives for the mentally ill in forensics. To err is human, to create is Devine. There is only that moment of Devinity when there are no hallucinations, voices, or ramblings. Just Divine Peace.
Thanks for these encouraging words. After a couple of rough years I have been finding myself asking all those questions. Thank you for reaffirming my heart who I am and why I am here. Seems silly to question. I am obviously an artist. I am now looking forward to making more art soon. ❤️❤️
Rebecca: I’m so sorry that you’ve had a couple of rough years. I hope things are on the upswing for you.
In response to recent events, I have been in a dark deep funk for several days. Today, as I am rising up for air, I find your blog in my in-box. Thank you so much for this very timely piece, Alyson!
Oh, I’m so happy you landed here, Melissa. Good thoughts.
I agree with you 100%. In my experience of more than 30 years in art, I’ve seen many things. I’ve seen how the painting does company to alone and sick people, have seen how children discover the world… All these things made me think about the role of the artist and about my contribution to the world. The art saves, accompanies and makes happy the people. And it helps to answer all those who say that the painting does not serve for anything, that we are dilettantes.
Love this post, so thank you very much. I ask myself those questions way too often. But I feel that my Art always pulls me back to myself. As it is so loyal to me – I’d like to stay loyal to my art also.
The world needs more artists now because it will remind us that creativity is closer to the human soul than technology is or will ever be. Technology is all about ones and zeros and not the mystery of discovering what can be at any moment in time. Creativity pushes us forward to the unknown in so many different and wonderful ways. Thanks for the reminder Alyson.
Part of the reason we moved to Austin is to bask in the Arts & music scene. Our kids will attend more creative-based schools and their artistic souls will flourish (hopefully)! Love your articles as always Alyson!
Nicole: Cool! I didn’t know you moved to Austin. Welcome to the West! (and my old stomping grounds)
What a thoughtful and important blog post for all artists, wherever we create! Thank You Alyson.
Never a true word spoken . An extremely topical subject even in Australia people are slow in buying times are getting tough again and we must awaken the soul of people as art is so topical and always there to lift us and make us think . Brighten our day and daydream of another place . Lets help to keep it strong.
Jo Gabe ARTIST.
In total & absolute agreement Alyson! I’ve been turning to my creativity more & more lately, exactly because I feel it heals & soothes something deep in my with all that is going in lately! Thank you, I’ve also shared with my readers!
Thank you for sharing, Heather. I’m so happy to see your face here. For those of you who don’t know Heather, be sure to listen to the podcast episode where she was my guest:
With a sign of relief, thank you.
Sorry I am so late to respond but my daughter got married last week in Charleston and things crazy here for a while. THANK YOU for this. It is a question many artists I know have discussed…in this increasingly negative, polarized and frightening time. Thank you for your insight and passion and especially ongoing stalwart support of artist and art!
Happy new son-in-law, Christine!
I have wondered the same, “Why Make Art.” It held me back.
But, what if the Art you created gave one person peace & they shared that with another person. Any Artist would be happy to say that was their lot in life to Bless Others.
I was fortunate to be raised by artists. I was surrounded by artists Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents. I might seem extremist in this but I believe that education may have it all wrong. We need art (ceativity) first. Creativity is not in just the arts although that is paramount for it. I believe creativity should be part of all activities so ART as a base for all the rest. Begin the study of everthing with art then STEM possibly afterward.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift” – Einstein
Lucky you, David. Thank you for sharing your experience.
YAY for STEAM!
Thanks for this post, Alyson!
If I didn’t have my studio (my happy place), I would not be able to deal with all this craziness. Making art is the best thing I can be doing for my state of mind. It keeps me sane.
Bravo for this article…congratulations !!! I have taught art for 50 years…and you have inspired me to return to classroom and volunteer my services for the betterment of this society…not satisfied with helping the seniors to find som peace and happiness in this world…
Will share your article with all my students
Well written and so apt. Needed to read this today. Thank you
Thank you so much for these incisive and inclusive comments on the value of art. I’m keeping this tab open on my computer, to address the doubts that invade!
Thank you for this article which I just found. I’m debating whether or not to pursue an MA in Visual Arts and have been questioning my purpose as an artist. This has been hugely inspirational. Thank you.
Great article, and perfectly needed right now. It’s interesting how guilt of not being able to help people in some ways can stop us from helping people in other ways. Thanks for the great read!
Kayla: Right? As if that guilt is helpful to anyone.
I love this Alyson and it is so timely for me. I have been online. Haven’t been earning much income with my online classes and art delivery kits. I suddenly remembered what you said to me in Golden at you’re workshop I attended. You reminded me that I could make more income selling a large painting than a bunch of coffee mugs. It dawned on me this
Morning that if I completed two of my commissions I would generate much more income than I am presently making!! Thank you for the insight!
Wendy: I love that you remember that. It’s a vital lesson. Sounds like you have income just waiting for you.
Art is absolutely essential! Creating and having art on my walls improves my mood.
It’s also a different form of communication. As Edward Hopper said, “If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.”
Scientific tests have shown looking at art stimulates the feel-good chemical, dopamine. Something we could ALL use now.
Thank you everyone for your comments.
Kathy: Yes to the uplifting mood. Think of all the stories around that art on your walls.
Great article. So true to keep making art even if something new speaks to us during this time. This is such a jult to our routine,so naturally our creativity is reflecting it. Thank you for this timely read.
Thanks for reading!
just what I needed to hear today, ThanksAlyson!
Thanks for reading/listening, Tracy. I’m glad to hear it spoke to you.
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Thank you Alyson. This is much needed and appreciated.
Thanks Alyson! You made my eyes well up. I’m off to the studio!
Hi, First, excuse me if I do mistakes, English si not my mother tongue. I have to go to work everyday because I’m into food distribution business. I even work more hours than usual because of personnel lay-off . Also, my 22 year old daughter came back home and I had to re-transform my workshop to leave her room to sleep. I had started a painting before she came back 2 months ago but it seems that I’m loosing the « touch ». My Colors are dark, and I don’t like what it looks like. Also I have to put more efforts to get my material out to my kitchen to paint. What is wrong with my creativity and my motivation now ? I Used to post my creations to Facebook but I don’t feel like it anymore. What’s the point ? People loosing their jobs don’t have any money to buy arts at this time. Are there some artist feel like I do now? Thank you for your support Art Bizz Success.
So timely, Alyson. I took the NY Times virtual 79th Street tour. As a native New Yorker, I relived those years in Manhattan. I experienced the detailed grandeur of the facade of THE MET. I was always so anxious to get inside, I never noticed the architecture. How many of us did that? Now during this COVID confinement, I am anxious to pull out all my Art History textbooks and delve in. Also.my studio has my sane place during this lock down. I was even forgetting what day of the week it was. Freaky.
This is such a great read! I think so many of us are feeling unmotivated Right now and it’s like there’s a giant boulder in our path to creativity.
I’m so happy to hear this, Steffanie. I hope you can get back to the studio soon.
The Creation of art (beauty) is essential to our interaction with the world. Bishop Robert Barron and Roger Scruton see it as an essential theraputic reaction to the world as it is. They see it as a very important work of taking the world as it is (a real fixer-upper) and showing us the way to address it. That is not to say art should be merely “message driven” but rather that the wonder of our creativity is in itself the message we need. It can lead us together to that “Blessed Community” that Dr. Martin Luther King envisioned. You’ve given us some good reasons to make art, I think we can discover a whole lot more! Thank You!
Thank you for this, Bob. I love the word “wonder.” So appropriate. And, yes, we’ll continue to discover more.