The arts have faced challenges over the past few years due to the pandemic and world events. Artists are enduring a particularly trying period, between venues that have shuttered and behavioral changes of society such as staying at home more often. And in Ukraine, priceless artworks are being hidden away in the desperate hope of saving these cultural icons from destruction during the war.
Throughout the darkest times of history (the present “uncertain times” included), people have relied on artists for comfort, entertainment, enlightenment, inspiration, and joy. The events of recent years have begged the question: What is the role of the artist? To put the answer simply, the artist’s role is essential in three ways:
1. Art connects us with others, both near and far.
Art provides us the opportunity to have a connected emotional experience with others. Thanks to an expansive digital network, you can interact with and have an emotional tie to pieces of art completed all over the world. You also can view the same photo of a painting as someone on the other side of the world and be united with that person by your emotional response to the piece. You may be watching Hamilton streaming live online alongside hundreds of thousands of others, including people of other cultures who speak different languages. Artists and their work provide globally uniting experiences!
2. Art sheds light on human experience and emotion.
It’s often said that “when words fail, art speaks.” Perhaps more cliche: “a picture is worth a thousand words.” There are emotions and experiences illuminated by art that are impossible to capture in language. Whether it provides you unspeakable joy or brings you to tears, art provides a cathartic experience beyond words. In current events such as the war in Ukraine, a poignant photo stirs us to feel horror, compassion, and grief perhaps stronger than a written account.
3. Art provides hope.
Artists take nothing and turn it into something. A blank canvas, an empty stage, a silent space… it doesn’t matter what that nothing is, but artists perform their magic and turn it into something powerful. They turn it into beauty, meaning, and emotion. Where that creation is possible, everything is possible!
My Contribution as an Artist
As a mentor, I love fostering the growth of other artists and helping them bring more joy into their own lives and the world through painting. Not only is it bringing more beauty into our world, it is like a form of therapy that helps others with their anxiety.
With all of the sadness and loss that is taking place in Ukraine, it’s important that I do whatever I can on a humanitarian level as well as mentoring and helping other artists release some of their anxieties through their art practice on a regular basis.
Share Your Thoughts
Artists connect us, enlighten us, and give us hope. The artist’s role is crucial to society, and we rely on the arts—perhaps now more than ever before! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the role of the artist. Please share your thoughts in the comments!