As you may know, certain students at The Art Institute of Dallas have banded together to shoot a film about For Love & Art.

The Director, Jonathan Nguyen, and I got into an exchange of what “the art experience” actually is, and I wanted to share some thoughts with you, and welcome your comments:

Your idea of time-lapsing people going into the art museum is brilliant as it shows that people go to museums. Why? To see pretty pictures and interesting sculptures? Maybe, but I assert that they are seeking “the art experience.”

Just what is the art experience? I’m not sure; no one is. However….

Art has power that flows beyond mere understanding. It nourishes and sustains – some call it “food for the soul” and “the gateway to the eternal.” Yet, what exactly is the art experience?

My humble sense is that in the moment, people are enabled to escape this mortal coil and are immersed in, and become an expression of, beauty, joy, and magic of life. It’s not that they become young again, they become Youth itself; they may not look outwardly different, yet they become Beauty itself, as an essence of being. Vigor itself. Romance itself. They, in a sense, become immortal through the power of art, even if just for a little while. (Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother about this; I invite you to research his take on the art experience).

Albert Schweitzer remarked, “The tragedy in life is not that we die. It’s what dies inside us while we are still alive.” That’s the human condition – we die before dying. And it doesn’t have to be that way! Picasso said “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” That’s the therapeutic value of art. It enlivens, it renews, it cleanses, it heals. Look at it this way; physicians heal physical ailments; metaphysicians heal spiritual ones. We use art as doctors use drugs–it’s a real nice buzz, with no adverse side effects, all with purpose to get us through tough times and restore us as whole….

What’s your experience?

One Reply to “Just What Is “The Art Experience?””

  1. I had the pleasure of experiencing the “Art Experience” every day when I attended the Arts Magnet in Downtown Dallas (aka Booker T Washington) for four years. Art was every where and in every form for me each day ….. Visual, Dance, Theater, Music. It was a part of a daily routine to walk through the Art Gallery to get to certain classes. I saw new sculptures, paintings, jewelry pieces, creative costumes daily. I was fortunate to have this experience and it gave me the brain power to be self expressed, appreciative of the work that goes into Art, creative and act as an escape from some of the adolescent problems I was dealing with. In many ways, the “Art Experience” was my education and my purpose for living. The “Art Experience” is a NEED not a want.

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