Today is International Artist Day, a time to celebrate all kinds of art: paintings, sculpture, mosaics, photography, textile art and more. Launched in 2004, IAD is designed to honor the contributions all artists make to society. These days, though, one of the common themes I’m hearing from artists is ‘how can we (or even should we) create when world events are so dark?’
Artists work hard to produce their work, though when judged against something like, say, a peace treaty between nations, a painting or a sculpture inevitably comes up short. Maybe that’s why so many creative types are questioning themselves lately.
Novelist Theodore Dreiser once said that “art is the stored honey of the human soul.” I love that quote almost as much as the one by Thomas Merton: “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
So, yes, the news is grim but the arts – and artists themselves – have a place and a role to fill.
Since the beginning of time, artists have communicated ideas and even kept records of important events. Through many different mediums, they record history, the good and the bad, and they help us make sense of it. Artists show us the truth, or at least the truth as they understand it. They tell us stories, they pass on traditions, and they forge connections with others. Artists add beauty to our lives which raises us all up. Some even say that artists offer the world messages of hope, and I think a message of hope, in a world filled with bad news, is a message we can all get behind.
So today, on International Artist Day, I hope you reach out to an artist to lift them up. Maybe tell them that your world is just a little bit better with them in it.