The Transformative Nature of Art

Honoring Creativity

I am sometimes overwhelmed by life, but always overwhelmed by art. Art can be transforming, while connecting a community that may not be otherwise connected. It has been an honor serving the Mount Pleasant community for seven years, and in that time, engaging in hundreds of public meetings centered on or including the conversation of art. The elected body has supported studies to identify the need for art. Organizations have been formed to express the need for it. We have created videos to apply for grants to support the arts, and through all of these efforts–it has been a pleasant challenge to come to understand what art means to me, and to learn what it means to our town.

Several years ago, we had a chance to support a local theater group. This meant we needed to find cold hard cash funding. As a community this was a new conversation. We had long supported recreational programs that allowed youth to experience art, but we’d never agreed to put cash on the line to support a theater group. One theater group in question chose to relocate to Charleston; it was a hard hit, but we soon landed another one. Your mayor even had the opportunity to be cast in one of the plays, “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers.” Honestly, I had anticipated playing a lover—though I was cast as a dowdy, matronly figure that suited me to a tee—it was an honor to support the arts in our community.

I have always been a creator of things; journals, repurposed furniture, decorations, knick knacks, and I have had my share of art classes and craft parties. I only wish I had more talent. The first time I visited a museum, I was taken aback by the glory of the exhibits. Not just paintings, but whale bones swaying in the wind in the entrance. I had the great opportunity to take art in high school under the direction of Virginia Bolton, who went on to experience commercial success (which may in some ways define an artist) and I have several pieces of her work in my home. I will always treasure them.

Not so long ago, The Town of Mount Pleasant was called out for not being more supportive of more arts, so we changed the name of the Civic Pride Committee to the Cultural Arts Committee. The Cultural Arts Committee focuses on public art and supporting the arts in general. I am honored to serve with like-minded people when it comes to honoring the importance of this fiber of our town. In January, I posed this question on my Facebook page: “What do the arts mean to you?” Some responses from friends were: How great to be in a town that feels art like this . . .  Art is private, sanity, an experience apart from reality, expansion . . . It’s expression . . . Art is life.

Imagine what that means. Is life art, or is art life?  Then, there was this: A canvas, inspiration, creative activity, or perhaps a part of the heart and a diversion from the mundane.

These days, my most creative self comes forward in journals. It is a great pleasure to buy a new notebook, new pens, pencils. The opportunity to write this column for Mount Pleasant Lifestyle has helped me realize a creative dream. I’m following my artist dream and I hope you are as well.

Remember, don’t just live . . . create a life.