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The Joys of #Artinperson

Seeing art in person can boost your creativity,

catalyze connection and inspire joy.

Reflecting on the artful Father's Day Weekend I had with my older brother and Dad (and actually for the whole month of June) it occurred to me that I smiled more than I have in a long time. What was I doing that allowed me to feel energized, yet comfortable and filled with a sense of awe and adventure? I concluded that I had immersed myself in a whirlwind of artistic, educational and people experiences that fed my hungry soul.

I tend to spend a lot of time in solitude creating, planning, thinking, living. Many Artists lean towards introversion and have a strong intrapersonal awareness. However, curating a balance of experiences is key to living a satisfying life.

I often champion the benefits of seeing #artinperson in my blog posts, FB group Quietgirlartful Connect and on other social media platforms. I realize that engaging with Art may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for me, it's one of the things that makes me feel alive.

When I feel myself in a creative slump, I might go to a museum/Art gallery to get inspired. Notice that I said, 'inspired' not to copy another Artist's style or voice. This would rob one of the joys and wonder of participating in creation. Instead, the experience is like a testimony from my peers saying to me, 'See what I did, Sheryl? If I can actualize what's in me; you can too.' Viewing the variety of techniques, materials, subject matter, and approaches gives me a new perspective and opens my mind to the range of possibilities. And boy when you see that there are possibilities! Receiving this boost of creativity allows me to return to my studio refreshed, more informed and ready to start or continue my work. What is it that you have been doing for a long time, feel you do it well, yet you may find yourself at a stuck place? I encourage you to take a field trip to your place of inspiration and see where it leads.

#artconnects. Connection has been my word of intention for the past two (2) years. I have intentionally forced myself to engage in experiences and with people that I may not normally encounter. It has been easier at times and more challenging at others, but it continues to be my North Star. I know it's good for me on many levels and I understand that it is essential for growth. Plus, I always get a kick out of seeing how others engage with Artwork.

Some people stand back and analyze it from afar as if it is too precious to approach. Then they shyly saunter over to the next piece. Rinse and repeat. Others stand off to analyze then boldly step closer to check whether their assumptions are correct. They may also read the placard that contains the Artist's name and other pertinent information. If they have a companion, they may lean over to share their insights in an excited whisper. Bathed in the dim, protective light of the gallery, figures move in a synchronized dance of walking, pausing, observing, reading, pointing, sitting, gazing totally immersed in the experience.

Viewing Artwork can also catalyze connection and provide a perfect way to spark conversation with your companion or a stranger. For some reason, viewing Art makes it okay to be vulnerable and open with your emotions. It touches a softer side that we all have but may repress. If you are with someone you know, the exchange may start out being about the work of Art. Then, it may softly open the door to another conversation that you've needed to have for a long time. This conversation may strengthen your relationship and connection. If you are viewing with a stranger, it could be a great way to have a brief moment of human interaction and sharing of ideas that strengthens and affirms our humanity. Or viewing Artwork can simply be a beautiful way to share a quiet moment of wonder.

Seeing Artwork in person can also inspire joy and who doesn't need more joy in their lives? For me, it's a full-circle moment when I see a famous work of Art in person that I have either taught my students about or admired forever. I not only feel joy in the moment, but I also feel accomplishment and the pride of setting a goal, making a plan and seeing it come to fruition right in front of my very eyes. My dream and my body are occupying the same moment in time and space and that feels powerful. What have you set your mind to that you have seen become reality? How did you feel when your plan was realized? As humans we all need to experience a measure of success whatever that looks like for you.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 3:14 (NIV)

I hope that this summer you will take the time to experience #artinperson and #artbringsjoy. I hope that you will do something that makes you smile, laugh and connect more. Please feel free to share your comments, like and subscribe.

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