what value is generated:
Art makes people happy.
(Art makes people sad)
Art inspires emotion, innovation, expansion.
Art inspires connection, participation, development.
Art imagines other possibilities, other worlds.
Art is problem solving, engineering, translation.
Art is neural, physical, a little bit magical.
My son Dante is an emerging artist. We paint together and sculpt Angry Birds out of play-doh. When I make jewelry out of shrinkidink and recycled chains on the livingroom sofa he sits beside me with his stubby plastic scissors and cuts piles of paper to make necklaces from. I watch him from the corners of my eyes and wrap my mind around his determination, the absorption he exudes, the delight in his task, and meanwhile imagine the connections and pathways his growing brain is networking through his burgeoning creativity. This art-play will help him engineer multitudinous solutions to the many difficulties his life's story has in store for him, and I am proud.
Art is a product in which the process remains tangible. When I was 12 and at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam I stepped into the no-go-zone to touch the canvas lightly, to experience the painting as an action once performed. I make art with my son nearby both from necessity (oh, time!) and because I want him to grow up knowing that art-work-making is valuable-time-spending (and potentially-earning). My own conception of art/work's value is more complicated than that which I hope Dante grows into believing: I grew up in a household that encouraged a lot of art-making but in which art was very much a hobby and not-work. I still find myself holding onto this rather debilitating judgement even after 10+ years of studying and making art and attempting to make art my work, even as I believe (and teach) that the time and effort I give to art makes it my work, and that that work has value in what it gifts to the worlds I help create and expand upon.
By valuing my own art-work and that of my community I hope to work concurrently on shifting the cultural valuation of art-making towards a more viable paradigm, one that acknowledges and supports the arts as a necessary component of a dynamic society, and grants its artists multiple pathways to a living wage.
I hope to help create the world I wish to live in.