Now more than ever, America needs to heal. The past six months have tested our resiliency and our resolve in unprecedented ways. And while it will take a combination of measures to overcome and learn from our losses, we are – not surprisingly – seeing art emerge yet again as a healing force for many.
Here’s what we’re observing/experiencing in the world of art making…
In New York, we’ve discovered the work of Karen Revis a printmaker based in Harlem. For most of Karen’s career she’s worked with adult artists with disabilities – to whom she gives full credit to teaching her about herself and influencing her work. During the pandemic, her focused has shifted to creating new work and the launch of REVISionary Prints – a series that speaks to her experiences growing up in a black community, and being a black woman existing in the current political climate today. We’ve recently virtually toured Karen’s studio (something we would have never thought to do – thanks Covid!) and are placing her work in a client’s home next week.
Image Left: Karen Revis, Indigo 9, 30 x 30 in, Monoprint | Image Right: Karen Revis, Indigo I, 30 x 30 in, Monoprint
In Rhode Island, the Jamestown Arts Center debuted the inaugural Outdoor Arts Experience earlier this month, bringing museum quality, large scale art installations to the community. For the first time, residents and visitors have the opportunity to stroll through town and experience the transformative power art brings to those who seek it. I’m especially soothed when physically moving around three dimensional pieces 2, 3 and 10 times larger than me. It’s a reminder that an idea and a pair of hands can create a work and an impact beyond the boundaries of our own physical presence.
Exhibition Map of the JAC Outdoor Arts Experience | Beckett’s Maze: Go On’ Site-specific Ephemeral Environmental Installation By Robin Crocker
And, from our Jamestown storefront studio, we have the pleasure of watching people respond to Nick Benson’s studies for his sculpture titled ‘@’, as a part of his submission to the Jamestown Arts Center’s OAE. His work prompts curiosity (“What does it mean?” asked by an observer) and awe in the exquisite execution.
Nick Benson’s studies on display at taste | Nicholas Benson, @ , black slate 38″H x 24″W x 2 1/2″D, at Town Hall – 93 Narragansett Avenue
Our own Art for All program continues this summer, too. We launched Art for All this Spring when it was clear that we weren’t able to invite art appreciators into our gallery this summer. To maintain our support of local artists, we dedicated our four store front windows to the promotion and display of their work. To date, we’ve sold four pieces from our front windows this season. Patrons of artists like Susan Petree and Christian Potter Drury report how happy and carefree each artists’ work is, and how uplifting their work makes them feel. We hear the same from shoppers at our creative atelier with Isoude this summer in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Kelly Milukas’ work featured there continues to draw people in and provide a happy escape with her use of sculptural encaustic methods and vibrant compositions.
Visit taste at 17 Narragansett Avenue, Jamestown to view our window display’s for the remainder of Summer 2020.
So, if you’re in a position to give and are considering the many non-profit requests filling your inbox, consider an investment in the arts. Need more evidence of the positive outcomes from contributing to the arts? Read on…
These 10 reasons to support the arts was adapted from an article by Randy Cohen and published by American for the Arts.
“The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. The arts bring us joy, help us express our values, and build bridges between cultures. The arts are also a fundamental component of a healthy community—strengthening them socially, educationally, and economically—benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times.”
- Arts improve individual well-being. 63 percent of the population believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” and 73 percent say the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”
- Arts unify communities. 67 percent of Americans believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity” and 62 percent agree that the arts “helps me understand other cultures better”—a perspective observed across all demographic and economic categories.
- Arts improve academic performance. Students engaged in arts learning have higher GPAs, standardized test scores, and lower drop-out rates. These academic benefits are reaped by students regardless of socio-economic status. Yet, the Department of Education reports that access to arts education for students of color is significantly lower than for their white peers. 88 percent of Americans believe that arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education.
- Arts strengthen the economy. Arts and cultural goods in the U.S. added $764 billion to the economy in 2015, and included a $21 billion international trade surplus. The arts represented a larger share of the nation’s economy (4.2 percent of GDP) than transportation, tourism, and agriculture (source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $166.3 billion in economic activity annually (spending by organizations and their audiences), which supports 4.6 million jobs and generates $27.5 billion in government revenue.
- Arts drive tourism and revenue to local businesses. Attendees at nonprofit arts events spend $31.47 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters—valuable commerce for local businesses. 34 percent of attendees live outside the county in which the arts event takes place; they average $47.57 in event-related spending. Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences.
- Arts spark creativity and innovation. Creativity is among the top 5 applied skills sought by business leaders, per the Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate report—with 72 percent saying creativity is of high importance when hiring. Research on creativity shows that Nobel laureates in the sciences are 17 times more likely to be actively engaged in the arts than other scientists.
- Arts drive the creative industries. The Creative Industries are arts businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies, and theaters to for-profit film, architecture, and design companies. A 2017 analysis of Dun & Bradstreet data counts 673,656 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts—4.0 percent of all businesses and 2.0 percent of all employees. (Get a free local Creative Industry report for your community here.)
- Arts have social impact. University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates.
- Arts improve healthcare. Nearly one-half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming for patients, families, and even staff. 78 percent deliver these programs because of their healing benefits to patients—shorter hospital stays, better pain management, and less medication.
- Arts for the health and well-being of our military. The arts heal the mental, physical, and moral injuries of war for military servicemembers and Veterans, who rank the creative arts therapies in the top 4 (out of 40) interventions and treatments. Across the military continuum, the arts promote resilience during pre-deployment, deployment, and the reintegration of military servicemembers, Veterans, their families, and caregivers into communities.
Only the best,