The Way of Art. ~ Brooke Gessay

Via on Jan 27, 2011
crowd by SCIENCE_JERK, on Flickr
Photo Courtesy of SCIENCE JERK

Declaration on the Value of Art

Art is valuable. It is an expression and a conversation about being alive on earth, particularly as human beings, and how strange, bewildering and achingly beautiful this whole play can be. Art is a way of gathering what exists in the unique territory of a person’s or group of people’s subjectivity, and moving it out into the collective space for other people to experience. Art connects us as humans.

Art is valuable. It points out the ordinary as extraordinary so that we can more vividly see our world. Some art ignites a felt sense of a common source and interconnectedness with all that exists. Some art pisses us off or shakes us awake to a truth that moves us into action. Art points out how things are and points toward how things can be. It shifts our perspectives and states of consciousness. Art engages, exercises, and opens our minds, while transmitting wisdom beyond the limitations of mind. Art is medicine for sickness in our psyches and it is also a slap in the face when our eyes glaze over and we forget to be curious.

Art is valuable. It lets people have and tell their stories, and in doing so, liberates them from identifying solely as those stories. Art is a friend to paradox, unanswerable questions, madness and peace. Art affirms the truth of both linearity and circularity. Art is you, and art is me, and art is everything–and art helps us to know that. It invites or demands a quality of attention from our perceiving of the world, which, when engaged, can start to notice art everywhere. This way of seeing can literally be reason to keep living, and in this way, art saves us. It lets us celebrate and grieve our world of duality, instead of trying to figure it all out.

Art is valuable. It reaches an arm into the unknown and brings back evidence that our finite lives are happening inside of infinity. On that dizzying perspective, art gets us drunk, drunk enough to tell more of the truth. And when we tell the truth it rings like a bell, it buzzes in our cells, and maybe we can feel more alive and less afraid.

Art is invaluable, as a way of being and a way of communicating, accessible to all people without exception.

Brooke Gessay is a dance artist and teacher, as well as a CHA graduate scholar and MFA candidate in dance at CU Boulder.  She is also a Life Coach and, newly, a student of Zen.

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5 Responses to “The Way of Art. ~ Brooke Gessay”

  1. Bryce Widom says:

    Loving it, Brooke. I've been thinking about this since I first read it a few days back, and have been more clearly realizing the degree to which my art and my "self" are so deeply intertwined.

    While the artwork itself is an "object out there", an "artifact", the art-creating itself is a process, and the process of making art (from the first trickle of inspiration to the final brushstroke to publishing it on FB or delivering it to the gallery) changes me, deepens and widens my capacity for being present with whatever is going on in/around me, broadens my scope and capacity for perspective-taking.

    It's a remarkable play – I often don't know what is happening in me, until I create the art, and can see it "out there", and then reflect back on what's "in here". But the art/artifact I've brought into being also pulls me into an ongoing evolutionary unfoldment. Just because I'm the artist, does not mean that I'm not impacted by witnessing the finished artifact – and this, to me, is kinda shocking. It continues to work me, to pull me toward taking greater responsibility for my own authenticity-of-being. The artwork of others, be it dance, film, music, etc is clearly a catalyst for my own transformation/translations, but what's remarkable to me is that the work that comes from me is also a potent catalyst.

    This is a pretty sloppy outpouring of thoughts – just wanted to share the emerging insight that your writing sparked in me.

    Keep it coming, Brooke, your eloquence and passion are invaluable.

    • Bryce – thank you for your comment! I love what you are saying. I can so relate to the strange, mysterious experience of watching and nudging along some kind of idea or energy fom "in here" into an object or event "out there." It honestly really scares me when I am at all outside of the process, in any way reflecting or analyzing, but when I can somehow release completely into the process, it is one of the most transformative and exhilerating processes I've known. I very much agree with you & Ryan that it is intimately connected with other kinds of contemplative practices, in bringing the unknown right here. Thank you so much for being in conversation. I would be happy to hear more of your thoughts any time!

  2. Lindsey Wilkinson says:

    Wow, I am so glad I got to read this. I feel really inspired.

  3. Patrycja says:

    Art is also difficult to convey via syllables. Thank you for this.
    Especially for: " Art is a way of gathering what exists in the unique territory of a person’s or group of people’s subjectivity, and moving it out into the collective space for other people to experience." & for "It reaches an arm into the unknown and brings back evidence that our finite lives are happening inside of infinity. On that dizzying perspective, art gets us drunk, drunk enough to tell more of the truth."
    Mmm.

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