Musings

Earth Without Art is…

“Eh”.

Take away the ART and you get EH. I’ve seen this saying as a bumper sticker, as a poster on Pinterest and in numerous other places.

Well, ain’t that just the truth? If there was no Art, Earth would not be half as interesting.

When I was a wee pup, I distinctly remember going through a phase of not wanting to go into any museums. “Why do I want to go and look at other people’s art? I want to make my own.” It seemed like a pointless thing to do…strolling (or dragging yourself … in those airless, temp-controlled rooms) from room to room, gazing at work that was done hundreds of years ago by countless deceased artists. I also couldn’t fathom why one artist would want to go and look at another artists’ work-what could possibly be gleaned from that? Blech. Boring. I absolutely remember thinking this way.

Thankfully, it was a small window in time that, I’m guessing, took place somewhere in the early teen years.

My kids have always gone to museums since they were very small (just had to keep the sippy cups and Cheerios away from the priceless goods). We’re systematically working our way through the big ones in NYC, including returning trips to the big kahuna-The MET- where we pick a different wing or zone per trip. The Guggenheim was a big hit because it’s a spiral ramp. What kid wouldn’t love that? The MoMa (Museum of Modern Art) was a hit because it held a fair amount of zaniness, being “modern”. While in Arizona, we ventured to a fabulous local museum which contained oodles of local art such as Kachina dolls and Native American clothing and jewelry. That was another hit, as we don’t see those types of items every day and they worked to fluff out our trip and understand the area we were in all the more. Arizona for us was a predominantly outdoor adventure-y trip, but for the afternoon where temps reached 104 degrees, being in a museum for a few hours was a welcome respite. And we learned something new. Win!

This past weekend, we went to a small, local gem where fairies were the theme of the day, or month as it were. Roughly thirty-three artists were given the task of imagining and building fairy houses. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Kids’ stuff, right? Well, it was a (surprisingly) great exhibit. These wee abodes were perched and nestled all over the beautiful museum grounds and were insanely creative. Think of a whole new world in miniature. And that was one of the best parts…the kids were loving it, adults were, too, and yet it was still art. Not stuffy-in-a-gilt-frame-art, but hands-on, creativity-at-it’s-best-relatability art. Art that propels someone, or some small child, to head home afterwards, collect things from the backyard and start creating.

That’s scoring big on the impression scale.

My older daughter even commented afterwards that although she isn’t really into fairies, she found it interesting because it made her think of things in a new way.

And THAT’S why you go to museums, folks. That’s it in a nutshell.

Go into a wing of a museum that you don’t normally venture into. I’m not usually a sucker for Medieval weaponry, but hey, give it a whirl. Who knows what you might find? And as an adult, I’ve found that doing THAT is what helps to keep the mind and the creative juices fresh and flowing. Wander beyond the halls you usually wander. Explore a new exhibit. Go modern. Go zani. Go Medieval. There’s always something new you can extract. That’s what we do with kids, right? Expose them to a wide variety of new things and who knows what they will want to run with?

Why does this barrage of new information seem to slow as we get older? When was the last time we hit on a “new find” and devoured all the info on it that we could? We need to keep the floodgates open and see what floats to us…fairies, Medieval armour, blown glass sculptures…who knows what will strike our fancy and why. It may, in fact, lead us down some interesting new paths.

Buy that admission ticket. Go take a peek. A fairy world awaits you….

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