At a recent art show, what was most on view was not art but human anxiety over the current economic situation. Sales were slim to none. Mood was grim and all talk had to do with bank bail outs. Not your usual happy go lucky opening night.
It was only natural for artists showing to get uneasy, if not downright scared. Those of us with day jobs quietly promised to do a better job so as to keep it safe. Those of us without- afterall, we make art! at least that’s how the reasoning went for years- well, we entered into a heated discussion of why exactly do we do what we do. Questions like these seem to generate a lot more fire (and not just smoke) when economy slows, slumping art sales. So why do we?
This is where one could potentially write a multi point list of all the various personal, spiritual, societal, cultural, etc etc etc reasons for making art. And they were listed, vocally so, then and there at the art show (and elaborated further during the days after).
Watching and listening to all this was a much older lady, a great fan of the gallery, and a supporter of the arts-
-an emotional/psychological supporter which, even these days I would argue, is at least equally as important as all other support. Though the lack of the latter, in particular financial, support caused the discussion in the first place.
She touched my shoulder gently and, addressing all of us, said with deep gentleness in her voice: “Seeing all of your, young people, work – it makes me so happy, thank you!”
There was a palpable shift in the mood. Question answered.
She then leaned into me, and whispered: “ Good choice with St Francis. Good for the times!” Now, I was happy too.