I wanted to share why I do events at the gallery. As background, alongside my art career I spent 11 years as a community event planner, producing upwards of 100+ events annual from smaller-scale boutique events to large-scale concerts with crowds from 30 to over 500. My favorites were always the kids’ events – there’s truly nothing more beautiful than a sea of tiny, giggling humans out of their minds with glee.
I also produced educational events when I ran a nonprofit that supported emerging So Cal artists. My attitude was What do you all need to flourish and how can we make that happen? I’ve always been a proponent of the Can-Do So Let’s Do It school of thought because, well, why not? If something that can enhance your life and wellbeing is within reach, then, by all means have at it.
I carry that same attitude at the gallery. I want to celebrate the power of art through the exhibitions but also by gathering humans to share in a personal experience of art either through artist talks, hands-on activities or by communal efforts geared towards making a positive impact on the community. It’s why I partner with nonprofit agencies doing good in the world. The art world is a privileged one, so I feel compelled to give back how and when I can. And doing that together is bonus.
There’s another important aspect to events that I adamantly subscribe to, something I feel is critical to the well-being of any community. It’s the idea that a joyful experience should be shared with our fellow humans.
I read an article in the NYT last year, There’s a Specific Kind of Joy We’ve Been Missing, that spoke of “collective effervescence,” that “sense of energy and harmony people feel when they come together in a group around a shared purpose.” It makes friends of strangers and generates meaningful moments. And I feel as if those moments, individually and collectively, generate lasting positive effect. On all of us. “Joy shared is joy sustained.” As we stop-and-start emerge from the pandemic, offering a platform to generate positive exchange is of utmost importance.
Which brings me to another tenet that inspires my programming – the joy of talking to strangers. It’s a very underrated societal benefit, one that has been significantly slighted by a little something called social media that wickedly poses as fellowship. (Insert sigh and eyeroll here.) I am extroverted by nature so bonding, even if briefly, with fellow humans in a source of energy for me. Some of my best days have been solo flights out and about when I spoke with handfuls of perfect strangers and each encounter added a welcomed lilt to my step.
Here’s a sweet article I read on Why Strangers Are Good For Us (and is what inspired me to type out this post).
It feels good, taking the time to embrace our fellow humans. “Far from random human inconveniences, strangers are actually one of the richest and most important resources we have. They connect us to the community, teach us empathy, build civility and are full of surprise and potentially wonder.” Cheers to that.
Art does the same thing – it connects us to our shared humanity. It fills in visually when words fail and language falls short. It is why we feel moved by art that speaks to us. It connects us to something powerful and universal. And that’s why we like to share that experience with others – See, we’re not alone! Hooray! Of course, that hooray is different for different people, but the awe or quiet transcendence that can occur from an exchange with a piece of art is magical. And what’s a world without magic? One that isn’t as rosy and sparkly. And if I can play a small part in zhuzhing up the world, I’m in.
Look forward to sharing some collective effervescence with you soon!