Illustration By Paige Gaskins
Whether you realize it or not, art is ingrained in your everyday life. We tend to think of art as something that we only see in a museum, on an easel or on a stage. What we often forget is that there is also beauty in the quiet, simple, everyday ways we engage with art.
The truth is art doesn’t need to be loud, expensive, complicated or extravagant to be meaningful. The art in museums and on stages is art, of course. However, there is a certain distance that comes with compartmentalizing art this way. When we think of art as obscure and separate it from daily life, it becomes something we only engage with on occasion, something that is easy to forget about or even belittle.
The error in this thinking is that art is, at its core, an expression of humanity. In it and through it we explore and manifest the realities that we live every day. I would go so far as to say that the everyday outlets and inspirations help fuel our creative drive for larger, more involved expressions of art.
We encounter art in many forms every day. One of the more prevalent examples is music. We hear music almost everywhere we go. It is a near-constant presence in our lives, from the radio playing in the grocery store to the playlists we blast in our cars.
The things we don’t typically think about are no less important: the murals we pass on the way to work, the architecture of buildings we see, the sculptures we walk by without so much as a glance. Even when you scroll aimlessly on social media each day, you see photography, writing and poetry. We are surrounded by art that brightens our lives, from fashion choices, to blogs, to illustrations, to cover art on albums and magazines.
Once you recognize the art in your life, the next step is simply to let yourself appreciate it and let it inspire you. When you consume art, you gain insight into someone else’s experience. Chances are, the artist spent hours pouring their heart into their work. That vulnerability, whatever form it takes, is the quality that allows art to be so uniquely expressive.
When you find something that speaks to you, whether it is a song, photo, poem or sculpture, it is an individual experience that allows you to feel a sense of connection and empowerment. Maybe it is something you relate to, and you feel seen and heard. Maybe you find something that shows you what someone else is going through, and it helps you better understand others. Maybe it is just something you really needed to hear or see in the moment, and it helps you process and heal. The power of art is that it can be so many amazing things to different people.
What does art mean to you?
Today, try to recognize and appreciate a couple of these small ways that you consume art:
Find a new song you loveSearch for a beautiful album coverSpot a mural in downtown KentFind your favorite statue on campus Find your favorite building on campusLook for some particularly aesthetic photographs on social mediaBe on the lookout for an inspiring fashion choice
The art we experience every day enriches our lives, often without us even noticing it. Do yourself a favor – start making a conscious effort to recognize the art in your life and the ways it impacts you. I’m willing to bet you will find a new appreciation for it, and you might even find some fresh inspiration along the way.