art can change the world!

Image by Brenna Busse
March 29, 2018

Art reminds us of what we love by capturing or reflecting the beauty of nature, our human-ness and the way we are interconnected.

One beautiful example is the Coral Reef project started by two Australian sisters, Margaret and Christine Wertheim. They were mourning the dying of the Great barrier reefs, and decided to honor them in hyperbolic crocheted form -- creating an amazing art piece that has been shown around the world, and has inspired and informed the millions who have seen it. Also inviting communities to co-create, making the project perhaps the largest community art project in the world.

I have been thinking about this idea quite a bit over time. As a child of the 60's-70's, I have embraced "power of the people" activism. I have also come to trust the powerful, radical act, steeped in imagination, of creating something that didn't exist before -- for the sheer love of it -- and because, ultimately, it will change the world!

Art is where imagination lives, flourishes, runs free. Art is where we practice imagination. Art in the making is a personal journey and can heal us. Through art we are connected to the mystery, a way to get out of our thinking minds, into the realm of metaphor and magic. In art, we find our own power, our own voice. We, as art makers understand process and problem solving. In turn, we understand that change is process, it is not linear and there are many ways of change. Change may not be big or momentous, but can happen in each moment.

Art can change the world is a bold statement, and in my heart of hearts, I know it is true. Can I prove it? There are many instances where an image, a story, a book or music has galvanized protest or revolution. But just by asking for "proof", I am invoking the objective, fact based mentality that is so prevalent in our culture today. I make this claim, however, from the subjective realm where faith, heart, soul, and importantly, our imaginations reside.( Of course, we are much more complicated than this dualistic paradigm suggests.) So a more fitting question might be -- what does art changing the world look like?

I want to tell you about a local Minneapolis organization called Art to change the world, brought together by multi media artist Barbara Bridges. Fundamental to the ACW mission is the notion that bringing art and the natural/social sciences together deepens cultural understanding and critical thinking, magnifying the potential for change.