Arts in a zip lock top

Do you know what has been an extremely useful and exceptional invention? Ziploc® tops, now the go to container, for anything from lunch meat to rice.Once opened and some of its contents consumed, you can squeeze out the air, zip it back up and place it in the storage area of your choice.

When you buy a box of empties, as storage containers, they outdo the dinosaur Baggie exponentially. The zip lock bag will keep your leftovers fresh and edible for months or until you discover your leftovers in the consummate storage device covered with hair like your great uncle’s back on an Outer Banks beach vacation.

Is art really art when it is packaged up and stored away and no one is able to appreciate it? This of course is a rhetorical question.

According to the Bible you don’t “light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” It’s like storing leftovers in a zip lock bag until the little green hairs grow from the contents.

An artist might put his work in a public place and receive some constructive criticism, just as a musician might play before an audience to be recognized as a musician.  If a writer constructs a story and never allows it to be read, isn’t it really just part of a diary? As the old axiom questions, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, did it really make a sound?

But then creativity can be a very private thing, something to be enjoyed as pure potentiality.

Many artists consider their creative practices as a stress reliever, a sort of meditation. In fact, that’s how I describe my own efforts to play the guitar, although my bucket list includes playing in public, joining a jazz band and sharing with like minded folks the same passion I have for my own meditation.

But maybe those little green hairs could be analogous the growth of an artist. Maybe he or she is not ready to be exposed until they are really ripe. More times than not their creative work goes unnoticed until they have passed, the zipper sliding open and her work is dumped or forgotten.

I was really impressed this past weekend when two art shows opened simultaneously in Chester. One at the Chester Library displaying the work of Gail Butler, painter and photographer. The other a celebration of African arts with original art, prints and photographs.

While the Chesterfield Center for the Arts was formed to promote the arts in one place, there is a new movement within the organization to create a sort of virtual arts center; reaching out to the community and forming partnerships with the arts center, acting as a kind of clearing house, promoting the creativity of the community and reconizing a need for a centralized location for a facility, where all art disciplines need work space and show space.  

Art will always survive, it is a human need of expression. It will thrive even if spread to spaces miles apart, not gathered in one location, until there is a home of bricks and mortar to contain the heart, soul and creativity of the community.

Imagine a map, provided by the arts center, to galleries, performances venues, music societies, art guilds, local literature publications, studios, concerts and other art endeavors too many to mention.

Only until all these venues and a movement coalesces, builds momentum and needs a station, a location, that exposes all local arts to celebration, will a structure to house it be close at hand. A logical argument, a demand to release funds already voted on by the citizenry and set aside by the county and is needed. The need will also act as a sales tool to raise private funding for operating expenses.Until then, artists and performers will not line the walls of the public meeting room at budget time to demand a release of funding to build an arts center,

We can only hope that this grand idea, which currently seems like pie in the sky, will not grow hairs and be thrown out with the coffee grinds.


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