The Purpose of Art Day, by Becky Mate
There are a lot of arts events around the world, and this is fantastic. Our culture is the richer for it.
Art Day is special, like icing on the cake of other events. It is not designed to help a cause. It is not designed to make someone rich or do fundraising for a group. Although people have fun at Art Day, it is not a trifle pastime.
Art Day gives the reins of the culture to artists and says, “I trust you to create from your heart and soul. Our world counts on you doing YOUR art. Your unique viewpoint and perspective and voice and skills are desperately needed by our civilization.”
It is generally understood that the arts educate, enlighten, enrich and entertain us. Add LEAD us. I would encourage artists to recognize their role as leaders who have in their hands to take the culture where they want it to go. LEAD THE WAY! The styles of Hollywood show up all over the world. Scientists and engineers use fiction work to devise technology only dreamed of by a writer. The better side of Mankind can be viewed in galleries and on stages throughout the world.
As Cass Warner says, “I do believe that everybody has an opportunity to make change in their own way, and if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more and become more, then, you’re an excellent leader.”
It is a happy coincidence that doing something so profound as celebrating Art Day is also so much fun!
One of the seeds of the idea of Art Day came about after a friend, Bruce Gilham Sr, showed me what L. Ron Hubbard had to say in the Science of Survival chapter on “level of mind alert.” The rehabilitation of the ability of a culture to do art is worthwhile; dreams are dreamed by artists; a society needs artists; etc, about the value of the artist to society. This was a view of artists I had never imagined. I guess, before that, I had the idea that artists were a bit quirky but made life interesting. Viewing artists as cultural leaders was a novel idea.
Now, this same friend that showed that to me had artists over every Saturday to share their latest artwork with each other, whether visual art, the latest chapter in the book they were writing, a new song or poem. In fact, he felt we were practically traitors to the world if we, as artists in whatever discipline, were not getting our artworks done.
I pattern my Art Day party after that “open mic” style of adults expressing art, and people love to share it. Plus, I have a kids table off to the side. As the arts programs are taken out of schools, where can kids learn the importance and fun of the arts? Kids have no problem, with no “teaching”, in jumping in and creating whatever they want. Aesthetics is built in to all of us, since creativity is natural to all souls, everywhere.
The other catalyst for me creating a holiday for the arts was at a booth in Eagle Rock, California. I had many photographic prints for sale of close-ups of flowers by Schlomo Zadok. These were gorgeous and any room would have blossomed by hanging these in it. They weren’t selling. In some cultures, if a person has two loaves of bread, they will sell one to buy art. How messed up were our priorities if buying fine art was not among our top purchases? Art that was on something “practical” would sell. In a world that desperately needs to be uplifted by our artists, art was considered secondary or unimportant. Look at what many people buy instead of art. The people who do buy art are miles ahead of other people in their support for our culture.
“Take art away from a man and he will shrivel and die. Teach a man to appreciate art and artists and he will be uplifted and surrounded with beauty for the rest of his life.” (That’s my rewording of an old proverb.)
My Art Day parties are a microcosm of the idea of a global holiday for the arts. They establish a tradition. Every culture on Earth has artists of all disciplines. Imagine a day dedicated to the global community of artists. Imagine people celebrating this day with as much fervor as they celebrate Halloween or Christmas. Imagine people having arts parties, going to concerts or the theatre, or buying a painting or CD, just because it is Art Day.
Last year, at the suggestion of an award-winning graphic designer/artist Eugenia May-Montt, we started the Art Day Games (like the Olympics, but for art.) Participation in Art Day was thus greatly increased.
Through Artists For A Better World, I have had reaches from around the world for Art Day. Last year an artist named Neenu Vij in India had 15 artists come together and paint, then showed their work on Art Day, and she had underprivileged kids drawing in her garden. Another year, a person in Puerto Rico threw an Art Day party. For Art Day we get Mail Art (decorated cards or envelopes) each year due to that group, and have received it from Malaysia, Brazil, France, Texas, etc. A person who lives off the east coast of Africa near Madagascar downloaded my article on “How to Throw an Awesome Art Day Party” (which lays out the duties needed for a party across the organizing board.) I’ve produced an Art Day event at the Glendale Galleria, and Julie Snyder had 30 outdoor painters at the Americana in Glendale one year. The various Mayors of Glendale proclaimed Art Day for 6 years in a row. Last year the assistant to Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon came to my Art Day celebration and recited a long poem. In July 2013, I gave a proposed proclamation to the new Mayor of Los Angeles.
Essentially, Art Day safepoints the artist. In other words, you are not under attack for being an artist, in fact you are valued. And it is safe and very much needed for you to create what YOU want to create. It is a simple concept but a phenomenal one.
It is a direct affront to psychiatry’s concept that artists think outside the box and therefore they are crazy. Peel that “crazy” label off the artist. “Genius” might be a better label. Just the action of recognition of artists as cultural leaders, recognition by the public and the recognition by the artists themselves of their role, and encouraging them to create on their own self-determinism, I think this would be a very important blow to the oppression and suppression on this planet. Unleash the artists on the world! Love the artist!
There you have a little of the purpose behind this arts holiday that friends, family, neighbors and strangers seem to like, accept and participate in.
I welcome participation from everyone, around the world for this grassroots holiday.
Happy Art Day!
Founder of int’l Art Day, 2nd Fri in Aug