[YAC Responds: Ellen & Sierra on What is the Purpose of Art in the Time of Crisis?]

[Ellen Huggins]

Art is the byproduct of everything that occurs us, so the result of more happenings in our lives; more chaos, more anger, is more art trying to find the meaning of it.

[Sierra Karas]

art is everything

Life is far too monotonous. We drive the same way to work every day. We come home to the same house, the same life, the same bed. We are caught in our habits because they are easy and because they are comfortable. But art is not supposed to make you feel comfortable. It is supposed to invoke feelings you haven’t felt before, it is supposed to be a call to action, a call to something, even if that somethings is small and simple. Maybe the message is just to be kind. Maybe it’s to change the world. And maybe, those are the same things.

Art is there to wake you up, to jolt you and bring you back to life, it is there to scream and to shout, to direct your attention to what truly needs your attention. When we’re in crisis, chaos, or social disruption, we need this wake up call. We need a platform from which we can voice our opinions and get messages for change out there.

We need to unite, and what better way to unite then to see similar or dissimilar opinions plastered down the boulevards until your eyes and ears and hearts have nowhere to hide from the problems at hand.

We need art because we do not like dealing with our problems, we like thinking that it’s somebody else’s mess, but this is a misunderstanding that cannot be perpetuated, because one, evolution (not revolution, because we want to grow and change, not return to the place we are at) takes many, it takes everyone; two, every voice counts; three, ignorance is not bliss because you will be living with the consequences of inaction/action.

It seems like times of unrest are when we come together most, when we dig into our roots and our communities, when we get over our fears and hold the hands of those that are different than us, not necessarily because we want to, but because we’ve got to.

So yes, in response to certain situations the telos of art may be to shine a light on what must be done or problems at hand, but let us not rely on only this purpose, let us return to the original meaning of art which is to create, for like god, for like the universe, we have the insatiable hunger to create what is not yet imagined. It is our duty to shape our lives in our palms and to inspire others to live with passion, such passion where bliss and peace and happiness are paramount, where they are the energy that surges you to get up in the morning and take one risk, to do one kind thing, to live a little better than you did the day before—to truly evolve.

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