Three days. Three cities. Three art museums. Three special exhibits. 300,000 shiny ideas.
When I travel, I love to visit art museums. And when I say love, I mean equal parts deep, intellectual excitement and exuberant, jump-up-and-down-and-clap-your-hands love.
Art and community service restore me…if that’s not inspiration, I don’t know what is.
Art museums inform both my writing and my painting, but more than anything, they amplify my agape love. Agape is a beautifully nuanced Greek word that means (in this context) the love of humanity. The news has been heart-breaking, breath-taking, and heavy lately. A recent combination of volunteering and visiting art museums has reminded me of all the soulful, big-hearted, genuinely good people in this world and all the visionary creators of past and present whose artistic voices resonate deep, in healing and inspiring ways.
When I go to a museum (whether it be one I’ve visited a thousand times or one I’ve just discovered) I like to set a theme before I go.
In this way, I’m more likely to explore pieces in detail and really see them (really, really see them). I saw a statistic at an art museum recently that said “patrons spend an average of 17 seconds with a work of art before moving on.” Wow – 17 seconds. Setting a theme changes the time you spend with the artwork…even pieces you’ve seen many times before will have something new to teach you. Trust me – it will enhance the experience for you and your family and friends. It makes each visit a bit of a scavenger hunt and is guaranteed to leave you with a billion-zillion ideas. Why not make it a new tradition?
Here are some themes to consider:
- Pick a color – cobalt blue, turquoise, gold, orange…
- Pick a shape – circles, lines, stars, triangles…
- Pick a detail – lace, hair styles, leaves, birds, insects, gestures, facial expressions, marble, brush strokes, sunlight, jewelry, wings…
Postcards From The Muse subscribers on how art museums inspire them:
“I enjoy watching people of all kinds and all ages enjoy art. Sometimes in my studio, I have a hard time remembering that it’s a human trait to find meaning, beauty, silliness, solace, and deep thoughts in art. Sometimes it feels like it only means something to me. A trip to the museum reminds me that there is an audience, reaction, and interpretation for every creation (even the ones I make).” – Erin (MO)
“I love all the families at my local museum. It’s wonderful to see one generation pass on a love for art to the next generation. It makes me feel like I’m a part of a big community of art lovers and it helps me to feel more connected and less lonely.” -Ashley (IN)
Click here to get in on the conversation – visit the website and leave a comment about how art museums inspire you!
Join me in art-making and loving-kindness.
I hope that you find some agape in your art, in other’s art, and in your community. I know humanity can be kind, peaceful, and creative instead of cruel, aggressive, and destructive. I know we can make the world a better place: in our studios, in our neighborhoods, with loving-kindness, and with respect for diversity and the inherent worth and dignity of all humans and all of earth’s creatures.
Together, we can literally create a better world. Creative action (in your studio and in your community) is the answer. Are you with me?
Next week’s post will focus on how finding a “sit spot” at a museum (and in nature) can lead to a more fruitful creative practice.
Artist and Creativity Catalyst
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