I read a quote today by James Abbot McNeill Whistler. (yes, he’s the one with the famous mother, I checked)
“Art happens-no hovel is safe from it, no prince can depend on it, the vastest intelligence cannot bring it about”
The quote made me think of a trip to Alaska several years ago. We were in Anchorage at the Alaskan Native Heritage Center. Wandering through the exhibits, I was struck by two things. First the harsh world that these people lived in. Crops were almost non existent, wood was scarce. They used tiny little boats to go out and hunt gigantic dangerous sea animals to eke out a life for their families. Their homes were often dug into the side of hills for lack of any other material. Yet, somehow between the summer days of hunting and the long, dark cold winters, they found a place and time for the most beautiful art. They created giant totems and delicately carved animals, beaded and feathered art, bowls and music and graceful dances. Art cannot be kept at bay, it simply is and always has been part of who We are. You can see it in ancient culltures, even before “civilization” in cave drawings and piles of stones set just so. in the quilts made by pioneer women as they wound their way across the country in bumpy wagons. Every scrap of fabric was saved, to be resurrected as a piece of art. In the simplest, most difficult times, and in times of ease and plenty, humans will create art, because we must.