I recently had an thought-provoking conversation with my friend, Jenny McGee. She talked about changing from an artist who used painting as self-expression to becoming an artist whose work serves others. Her focus has widened to encompass a participatory process with multiple people.
I have been turning over this nugget of an idea in my mind ever since.
There is art I make because I have so many feelings that I need somewhere to put them. This is art as self-expression, art as an external container.
There is art we make because others need our art. It fills an individual or community lack.
An example of art for others is the Field of Empty Chairs. The 168 chairs represent the lives taken on April 19, 1995 in the Oklahoma City bombing. Each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs stand for the children. (from the Oklahoma City Memorial)
This art is a testament to both agony and healing; we mourn and we endure.
See what you can do to fulfill a need. You can be a translator of our existence. Where are common stuck places? What is often confusing? Use your abilities to bring light where others are in the darkness.
When you do art for others, you make them feel worthy of living in a world of art.
Your art is a gift. There is no more “my work isn’t good enough.” There is only “my offering.” Aspire to follow the little drummer boy as your guide.
Right now is your time. The chair with your name on it has a person in the world who can move, give and serve. People need your art.
Paint, take photos, sculpt, throw pots, crochet and draw for others. Show them what they have forgotten. Your symbols will remind them of eternal truths.
Sing, dance and act for others. Let them hear you. Your song will lighten their day.
Write for others. Tell them what they need to hear. Your words will clarify their experiences.
You, my readers, bring me joy. I appreciate the opportunity to serve you with this blog! 😀
Lord, use our hands
to make the pictures
people need to see.
Lord, use our voices
to sing the songs
people need to hear.
Lord, use our arms
to make the quilts
people need for rest.
Make us your servant-artists,
coloring the world to match your
brilliant vision of abundance, kindness and love.
Where can you share your art as an act of service? If you let go of “not good enough,” what kind of art would you offer to others?