When I am asked if I am an artist, I feel much like the caterpillar in pupae – not yet winged and flying. Yes, an artist at heart I play violin, have sung with a Nordic vocal ensemble, dabble in design, and painted one kitchen wall the color of California poppies. I have also discovered that I am a conceptual artist. I can produce an experience with different disciplines, threading a theme to hold it together along many layers. Some examples of work are listed on the Malden Creates website.
Over the last four years, I have worked to create community by giving artists opportunities to perform, show, or sell locally. Locally for me is Malden, MA. In this process, I have come to value a certain spirit – a spirit of caring, empathy, giving, and sacrifice. So many performers and artists by the nature of what they do are generous. They train and practice for years. They are driven to create not to seek comfort. They may endure pain and uncertainty. And yet they feel called to give this gift – often personal – to the universe.
I am not saying all artists are generous or that only artists are generous but there is something to learn from so many of them. And what is it then that is important about this kind of generosity? How do we replicate it? What does it enable?
Along this journey of building community and questioning what we need right now, I have also encountered various worldviews and movements that hold nuggets of wisdom to harness. And it all feels rather connected – whether scientist, artist, social entrepreneur, organizational developer, theorist, philosopher, poet… we connect along the questions that lead us to live generatively together.