Friday, January 22, 2016

Grace: Or Why Community Art Matters

Last night in Waterville, after Richard Foerster's and Kate Miles's wonderful readings at Common Street Arts, more than a dozen people--an amalgam of readers, hosts, community activists, students, faculty, spouses, artists, writers--adjourned for dinner at a restaurant down the street--a gathering that morphed into chatter about poetry, politics, food, personal lives . . . conversation among disparate people, most of whom had not spent much, if any, time together socially. And you know what? It was a lovely occasion--entertaining, easy-going, comfortable. As one person happily told me, "It's like a salon!" And in a way, it was.

The idea that such an event should take place in frigid central Maine, should exist in this fabled land of snowmobiles and guns and white pines as big as mainmasts, makes me a little tearful. It's the loneliness, I think . . . and the sudden shift when the hull of that loneliness splits. Perhaps this contrast, between silence and spilling lamplight, is itself the bond among us. Maybe this is why we need art.


Carlene said...

Yes, this is why we need art. Not just in our lonely, somewhat culturally barren areas of the world, but also as humans. We crave physical and real company, and in our increasingly digital world, the paradox of being immediately connected and increasingly isolated as a result weighs heavily. One of my students wrote an essay about the lost art of meaningful conversation--he is a sophomore in high school, and he feels the lack of substantial communion within his peer group. We are studying Beowulf--oral and aural art--and they love to hear the poem read. We need to hear and feel other voices around us, and in our technology-driven world, I fear what we hear the most is the uncomfortable silence and tapping of keys.

Ruth said...

Art creates the Living Room. It is comfortably visiting with family. We need human contact and especially in the bleak season of the year.

Maureen said...

I'm so glad you had such a great evening, Dawn.

Meanwhile, an unscientific poll (taken, because these things matter in D.C.) makes it official: 'Snowzilla' is on the way.

Dawn Potter said...

Good thing you have plenty of books to read, Maureen!