Art (and Music) in Community. -And Maybe a Bit About Kaya's Quest

The following is something I wrote on a permaculture discussion group. It was my response to a thread about art, particularly painting and drawing art. I thought I’d post it here because of Kaya writing that she was looking for a community of music. …

Something I have struggled with for a very long time is, … my art. ~~Before this country was a country, William Penn traveled to Europe to find recruits for his colony in the New World. My family was artists to the King in the area of the German-Swiss border. Penn convinced us to come to Pennsylvania. We later moved to the Ohio Territories. And every generation has continued being artists, each in their own way. Being artists just runs in our family. It’s what we do. My brother created major art installations in hospitals and corporate headquarters. One sister created flower arrangements used in all sorts of venues. Another sister put on major art shows at Art Centers. Another sister made clothes you wouldn’t believe, and she taught art in school. We have art displayed all over our town and region.

But then there’s me. I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. Can’t paint a painting or do a drawing to save myself. I’ve always wondered why our family art gene passed me by. So I have just gone about my life doing what I do. Work. I created beautiful, raised bed organic gardens. More recently I have moved 40+ historic buildings to our farm. Rebuilt, restored and arranged them as a village. Every one of them is filled with displays of historic articles, 1820 to 1900. And now several photography groups make regular trips to take pictures. I can’t tell you how many awards they have won for their compositions.

So what does this all have to do with the original discussion of art? Well, what I finally discovered in many years of thinking about it, is that art comes in many, many different forms. Most often we think of art as paintings and pictures. But it is much more than that. Sometimes art comes in building villages. Sometimes in creating a better bicycle. Sometimes in planting and tending gardens and growing incredible amounts of healthy life-giving food. While at the same time creating a space that soothes the soul and sometimes inspires Ceremony. And sometimes art is the creation of wonderful music and song.

The point being, maybe try not to let your view of art as being just one thing. Live your life pure. Be joyful. Let whatever you do in life be filled with “art”. And then share it with as many folks as you are able.

Kaya, I really like what you wrote about music and finding a community of likeminded music people. We are one of the oldest communities in the U.S. We have had hundreds (thousands I guess) of people come to stay or visit here. And so many of them would bring their own gifts. At one time we had many musically inclined people here. It was wonderful. A group would be playing Blue Grass over by the gazebo. Another group at a circle of benches playing Folk, sometimes Old-time Country. And others nearby just strumming to beat everything. We even used to post signs on the nearby roads inviting passersby to come on over. It was such fun. But in time, we lost many of the core group. One guy drowned on his farm. Another just old age. Others moved. So the larger gatherings ended. We still have a fair amount of music, one girl sings (mostly to herself) all day, some occasionally drum or play flute. Guitars come and go. But nothing particularly organized. The “leader of the music” is no longer here.

So what does all this have to do with you? Well, seems to me, the important part of finding your place for art, is to maybe just not look for where it already is, but find the place where people find it agreeable. And then bring the music (or art) into being. It is so easy to get caught up in pounding nails and planting seeds. Those jobs need to be done. But in the world that is coming, the things of Spirit and Soul are also going to be needed to be “done”. We must find time for the art. Find time for the music. Bring it to life were ever you go.