Art makes a difference to my days. When music is around, I listen – art on the walls I look. Cards that come in with interesting designs or poems mean something. And I take great note of the glee children have when they create with paint, music, movement, theater, words, etc. Designs give me hope with color when I am weary. Literature connects me with people across time, distance, and culture.
Art is vital to my spiritual survival and to the compassion and learning I can have for times or ages beyond the borders of my experience. Art chronicles human experience that I can connect with because it was written, composed, painted, woven. It helps me understand a history I have not lived. Art bridges me to humanity when experience does not suffice. It is as Alexander Solzhenitsyn said in the 1970 Nobel speech,
…the only substitute for an experience we ourselves have never lived…. They possess a wonderful ability: beyond distinctions of language, custom, social structure, they can convey the life experience of one whole nation to another. To an inexperienced nation they can convey a harsh national trial lasting many decades, at best sparing an entire nation from a superfluous, or mistaken, or even disastrous course, thereby curtailing the meanderings of human history. (from Nobel Lecture 1970)