Art Matters

“What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing. You wouldn’t be an artist unless you wanted to share an experience, a thought.”
– David Hockney

The passing of Prince, Minnesota’s truest, wildest original, earlier this week reminded me of the incredible power that art (and artists) have. Art connects us, it inspires us and it challenges us. Art makes us curious, it draws us in, it keeps us hungry.

Art matters.

Piano by Susanne Williams for the The FM Piano Project

We live in a world that glorifies money and power, a world that encourages us to focus on productivity and efficiency, on results and numbers and profits. But sometimes great art — a song, a story, a photograph, a performance — can cut through that noise and wake us up. Art binds us together. Art shows us the world, each other and ourselves in new and powerful ways.

Art makes us question things we thought we knew and makes us look at things we never noticed. And it encourages us to experience art within a community, so that the songs and movies and plays and paintings we love can take on a second life as we discuss them in the lobby and debate plot points over beer afterwards.

And for those of us who create and teach for profit or for pleasure, the experience can be inspiring, grounding, challenging or calming. And no matter what the process yields or how it makes us feel, for a creative, that creative process — the continuous practice, day after day, year after year — is as vital as breathing.

So this week, let’s shine the spotlight on the creative people in yourcommunity. I want to hear about the filmmakers, writers, artists, designers, performers and teachers who inspire you.

A work by an uncredited artist in Valley City, ND. If you know who created it, please let me know!

If you’re on Twitter, I’d love it if you joined us for a #PrairiePlaces Twitter Chat tomorrow, Monday, April 25 at 8 p.m. Central Time to talk about the art and artists that you love. I’ve included the questions we’ll be talking about tomorrow night and I’ll tell you a little more about that shortly. I’m just going to talk to the non-Twitter folks for a second.

If you’re not on Twitter and don’t intend to be, please keep reading — I want to hear from you, too. I’d love it if you answered any (or all!) of these questions too, because your opinion and perspective are important to me. Just comment below this post or chime in on whatever social media platform is most convenient for you.

Commenting is a great way to connect with other people in the region and maybe learn something new. You almost certainly know about artists and stories that I haven’t heard of yet and you could help inspire an upcoming story here on Prairie Style File.

“Star Monster” by MSUM studentslocated on campus in Moorhead, Minnesota.

So here are the questions for you to think about.

If you’ll be following along on Twitter at 8 p.m. tomorrow, I’ll be posting a new question as @PrairieStylFile every five to ten minutes. Feel free to include any links, images or helpful info and please spread the word to other friends, artists and organizations that you think might like to drop in on that chat or comment below this post.

Question 1: What are your favorite theaters and performing arts venues?
Question 2: Which artistic classes and workshops do you love? What are you dying to try?
Question 3: What do the arts add to a community?
Question 4: What are your favorite museums and galleries in your town?
Question 5: What are the best places to see live music?
Question 6: Who are your favorite local and regional visual artists?
Question 7: Which local performers do you love? This can include musicians, bands, actors, dancers — anyone!
Question 8: What do you love about your local artistic community? How can it get even better?
Question 9: Where can we find cool public art?
Question 10: What are your favorite artistic events, activities and festivals?

Don’t forget to include the hashtag #PrairiePlaces in every Tweet so we can all see you answer, even if we’re not following you yet. It’s simplest to reference the question you’re responding to as well (A1, A2, etc.) but if you forget, no problem.

And if you think Twitter Chats are fun, stop back every month! I host one on the last Monday of every month at 8 p.m. CST.

Don’t forget to tell us about your favorite artists, events and artworks below! If you’re an artist or educator and you’d like to be featured in Prairie Style File.

Peanuts characters by Tivoli Too, in Landmark Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Alicia Underlee Nelson

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