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.