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Art Saves Lives

full text on the home page; chapter comments below from a previous edition



please, do a little therapy. truly, are does save lives.

Yes, art therapy saves lives. And of course art can be therapeutic. And therapy can be an art. If that's not clear in the stories here, please tell me where and how I can clarify. But please also consider that what I'm trying to get at in all of these stories (not just this one) is how we think about art, and how that thinking may diminish how art serves us -- and how we serve art. The point of this essay is not to say that art doesn't save lives, but merely to suggest that if we classify art as therapy, then we diminish it, restrict it, reduce it to something that can and will be regulated, licensed, controlled (and, in this political climate) de-funded. Of course art can save us. That's why I've been writing these stories, and the importance of art to life is the single most important motivating reason for making these (otherwise insignificant) stories public. It is also why so many people are so eager to get rid of the NEA, art teachers, art departments, art therapists, etc. Since it requires and restores us to our native freedom as self-governing and socially powerful individuals, art threatens any structure that seeks to dominate or control by force. thanks for reading. -- Kiko

You see, you answered you own questions yourself.  I myself have always turned to art.  Now, as a severely wounded soldier, I couldn't make any sense out of anything, so I returned to art.  This time, I lost the hand I used to paint with and draw with.  What I found was the "art" was still there, but now with my other hand, it's from a different point of view.  Now, that's obviously traditionally speaking.  However, art in the purest sense is all about perspective and interpretation in that particular time and place.  You write eloquently, which I consider an art form.  So, you my friend are an artist, even if you cannot draw a straight line, or paint a masterpiece.  You are right, it is communication.  Art existed before writing, but it was the form of writing, not considered art at the time, but a means of survival.  In this day an age everyone is concerned with how or what to label or categorize things into.  The problem with that and art, is art has no boundaries, it's merely perspective of each one of us, individually.  

my brother in law was in vietnam. his artistic sensibility and skills literally kept him out of the line of fire. he says to this day, art saved his life.

Every person needs to find that thing, that way of being-in-the-world that will save them, help them grow, etc. I do believe that art offers something to everyone -- but not if we limit our notion of "art" to pictures, paintings, and self-expression. Art means, simply, "to fit together." As such, it is a method, a practice, not merely an object, or a means of making an object. As such, we all must work to "fit" ourselves together with the rest of the world. But if "artists" demand funding for themselves, as self-appointed saviours, I think they'll be laughed out of existence -- as they should be. On the other hand, if artists work to identify common cause and common concerns with others -- by identifying a common commitment to beauty and goodness as the goals of all art -- then I think we could forge an alliance that could save not only lives, but the entire world. It is only by art that we can all participate in the enormous and divine project of creation. thanks for reading. -- Kiko

First, consider this as a whimsical declaration. Next, recognise that it is also profound.