ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
The Hope of Art
I was recently walking through town, thinking about all the present heaviness in the world. I suppose the world has always been heavy, but the recent natural and unnatural disasters make it feel like the awful is outweighing the good, and the bad guys are winning. With a downcast face and spirit, I walked, sipping Summit coffee, feeling very small and insignificant.
But, as I sipped on my to-go cup, my eyes raised and landed on an unexpected treat: the beautiful sculpture by Dowe Blumberg, and funded in part by J. Stanley Tucker, dedicated to the memory of his sister, Patricia Tucker Knox. If you haven’t seen it, it is a simple, yet gorgeous feast, for the eyes and soul. It depicts a dreamlike woman, arms spread wide, releasing a flock of birds into the air. I was taken aback by how calm it made me feel, and how it made me smile a little. I’ve seen this sculpture often but never the way I did that day. I encircled her, viewing her from every angle, so I could take it all in, enjoying how peaceful she looked, how hopeful, how lovely. Her back is arched and her face raised so high to the sky that she can’t possibly be shattered by the bad in the world, not for long, at least. Her face to the heavens gave me a sense of joy, again. Joy in a world that bonds together during the terrible times and not the opposite. And, I took that with me, as I continued my stroll, feeling a little more like myself.
The next unexpected treat came as I neared Ava Gallery. I caught a glimpse of the gorgeous new exhibit by artist Anne Harkness. The paintings are breathtaking, full of life and color and movement. Each one seemed to capture a beautiful depiction of the ordinary, cars, a scene on the street, boats, water, people, and more. And one that really stood out was an amazing painting of Downtown Davidson. I’ve seen many paintings of our town, and even painted my own fair share of them. But, this one was different. It was vivid and loud and fabulous. So, fabulous that, to me, it looked like a celebration of day-to-day living, an invitation to keep remembering that life is beautiful and the world will go on.
So, what is our role as artists in a time where violence is so prevalent, storms take out people by the dozens, and nothing seems to make sense? To continue, I suppose. To keep painting. To keep writing. To keep singing. To keep spreading beauty and love and hope and joy. We, as artists, can only add to it, if we are truly doing our job. Great art asks questions, depicts our deepest joys and sorrows, speaks truth, and helps heal. And nothing in this world can take that away from us.
Kristen Feighery is a self-taught folk artist, originally from southeastern Kentucky. She spends her days painting anything not nailed down (and some things that are), chauffeuring one daughter to sporting events, having tea parties with the other, and writing a blog. She's also married to a rather large Irishman and has a pub in her house. Really.