Monday, September 07, 2009

creeping out from corners

Here in Eureka Springs, art is a big deal and yesterday we had the unveiling of new paintings at the Artery with well over a hundred local residents and tourists in attendance. Several years ago, local artists did art on 4x8' panels to hide an unsightly wall in downtown Eureka Springs and now this was the 4th set of panels to go up. I congratulate this year's participants for their inspired and skilled work.

I hope that at some point, craftsmanship can be celebrated in the same way. In Bali, at one time, they said they had no art. They did everything as well as they could. Who needs art if everything in your life fulfills its purpose? Now we have art as a form of ornamentation, pushed into a corner as a separate category of human endeavor. So much of what fills our lives is often bland and meaningless and was produced without human passion, so art is remedy, something to remind us that we are indeed, and despite apparent circumstances, human. I wish for a day in which craft comes out from the corners to fill the breadth of our existence. In such a case, who would need art?

I got a call the other day from a woodworker who had gone to a local university to ask about teaching his craft in the art department. "Woodworking is not art," he was told. So we will keep it creeping out from corners, erase the boundaries and scrape away at the misperceptions. Can you imagine a life in which all the objects of your daily use were objects created with love and aspiration by those people you know and whose growth you encourage in your own community? Pottery, furniture, clothing, cooking utensils, and the food you eat? The artist in the photo is Betty Johnson, at work on one of my favorite panels in this year's Artery.


  1. Anonymous4:58 PM

    Woodworking is not art? You could knock me over with a feather. What incredible nerve.


  2. Mario, It is amazing how narrow the human mind can be... The administrator is perfect example to illuminate the term "pinhead."