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L y n n  C a r l s o n . u s
  Art Consultant
  Consultora en las materias del arte visual

Art Benefits the Artist and the Viewer

          Lynn Carlson served as Master of Ceremonies at the Pioneer Center for Human Services Holiday Luncheon in Crystal Lake, Illinois on December 10, 2007.  Here is the speech she prepared for the event that highlighted the centerís newly established art studio.

Art Studio.  Such promise those two words hold.

Are you an artist?  Are you like me and visit art galleries and museums every chance you get, and read about ART when you canít be near it? Are you like my friend, who, after exhausting all local art history offerings, purchased the History of Art on CD so she could self study?  Or are you responding to this questioning with the indifference of a indisputably over scheduled individual?  That is, politely but quietly.

Whether you embrace it or simply donít want to get into it, Visual Art is an important part of American life.  ART experiences are contemporary and traditional and colorful and moody and mentally engaging and thrillingly decorative, costly and (often) free and real hard to avoid. 

Whether you are making Art or responding to it, when you give that object we call ART your full attention, you are engaged in thoughtful, creative activity.  And YOU benefit from that activity.

One of the benefits is chin lifting privilege.  Creator or viewer, that we have the power to call it ART is a privilege. Personal probing formulas fit our authority for seeing ART:  You might ask, ďIs it original?  Is it extraordinary?  Is it inspired?Ē  When I taught I had a small sign on my desk, Does it require creative thinking? A final check for a lesson plan.

Iím not sure I would choose that sign today.  Art evolves.  Art is a complex and valuable activity comprised of many elements, for example COLOR, combined with technical skills, an ability, perhaps to make an elegant unbroken line across a surface with a single brush stroke of saturated pigment; or to (choose) not.  And the ability to apply these facilities with discrimination, reacting to each bend, shape size, nuance of color, composition balance and surface texture.  It is personal.  And it does get messy.  A separate, designated art space is so wise.

ART is an enjoyable, sometimes difficult but ultimately satisfying activity that allows us to give form to our ideas.  Self-expression, when itís authentic, fosters the growth of the individual holistically. 

ART is fraught with logistic problems and social possibilities. ART allows us another way, some would say, a better way, to communicate.

Partly because of its relaxed, play-like activities and its emphasis on unconventional thinking, the art studio requires safety and clean-up procedures. And thatís a good thing.  I still bow to the people who taught me when I catch myself following practical and sound procedures of responsible behavior like keeping some brushes just for white. 

ART can be a catalyst for enlarging and reforming other parts of life.  Nurturing interests and mounting challenges.  ART also has an observable social component. To most people, there is something so magical about ART that they want to be present at art displays, especially if the artists are present. Arenít we fortunate artists are abundant and diverse?

I was asked recently how I decide which shows to see, the precursor to a larger question I could see coming.  I donít have to tell you, it is a challenge to decide which events get our attendance.  Even when we clear the calendar of other responsibilities, sometimes art shows are not all that satisfying.  A favorite art history professor once talked about a day trudging through the gallery district, getting more and more tired when all of sudden out on the street, he encountered a doorway the tenant had painted a beautiful color and was nurturing a flowering plant strategically placed nearby. The assembly he said, ď. . . grabbed his attention as authentic and inspiredĒ, clearly suggesting the creative force and design sense behind the hands that made it.  The engagement he said, sparked his own imagination, activated his mind; left him refreshed, revitalized and hopeful about the world and his ability to ďdiscoverĒ beauty in it. 

What does that say about ART, abundance, attendance and attention? 

According to our omnipresent datebooks we have a finite amount of time and that is and will continue to be a problem, but itís less about time than it is about remembering the promise of ART.

In ART, discovery and attention are an honoring of the person who created the work and that respect for the other is GOOD for us, but is of GREAT VALUE TO THE ARTIST!  Artists build on successes.  Their maturity in ART is INFINITE.

Today, we celebrate the plan for space and materials and encouragement for ART at Pioneer Center for Human Services. Let us hope for displays of authentic self-expression that stop us in our tracks, grab our attention, generate more ideas and enrich their maker and their audience (us).  Letís hope we have opportunities to compliment the artists. But most of all letís hope for opportunities for the artists.

Lynn Carlson is a professional based in Crystal Lake, Illinois.  


Lynn Carlson, M.A., M.S.

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