I was at a Symposium this week where some of the talk was about the need for our work to become more participatory. The idea is that everyone is an artist now and so everyone needs to create, not just sit and watch and so we, as arts organizations need to create opportunities for people to create. Here’s what I say to that: No we don’t.
Our responsibility is to provide the opportunity to see something beautiful and transcendent and life-changing. Something not everyone can do. If everyone can do it, I don’t want to see it. I create stuff. I write on this blog and I presented earlier this week at Pecha Kucha and I make ceramics and I LOVE to sing (but I wouldn’t subject anyone to it, nor would I make a you tube video of myself doing it). I don’t consider myself an artist with something to say that is so far above the fray that I should be presented in the Museum of Contemporary Art or on the stage of the Goodman. Maybe someday, you never know, but certainly not now.
I depend on the MCA and the Goodman and all of you to nurture and experiment and continue to search for and find those voices that carry expressions of the soul in a profound and moving way.
I love public and community art projects that draw people in to something that is larger than them, that results in a creation that asserts our humanity. And I think places where creativity is encouraged are magical – places like Lill Street where I make my pots and Old Town School of Folk Music.
We are not those places, we are the places where we hear the voice of another, where we set aside our own need to be heard and listen and are uplifted and fortified because we have seen something that truly had something to say – something that spoke to us like nothing else before.