The arts and the spirit of the arts

Feb 25, 2020

Connection. Conversation. Community. Communicate. A string of words. A single word to acknowledge. Something.

Since we’ve been here I’ve grown attached. Faces and people have become familiar. Now, when I smell fresh linen I think of this street. The block is starting to wake up by the time I get here in the mornings — quiet but alive. People peak in the windows and most times if I open the door or gesture with my hand, they come in and we talk at least for a minute.

They know what used to be here, who used to be next door, who the landlord is and who finds shelter in the enclave of the building’s doorframe at night. They ask what kind of shop this is and we seem relieved when I tell them, “It’s art. We aren’t selling anything.”

It always comes as a happy surprise when someone says something like, “I like to draw” or “My friend at the laundromat is an artist,” and an even happier surprise when someone whips out a sketch book or a photo on their phone or even walks through the door carrying a roll of canvases. The spirit of the arts is a magnet. If it’s in you, you find it everywhere, it finds you. And don’t be fooled thinking it’s only expressed through sculptures, paintings, photographs, music — it’s also words, stories, movement, vibrations. It can be in anything, really. That’s why we say in our mission “the arts AND the spirit of the arts” as activators of sustainability.

I am welcoming to people and they are welcoming to me. It feels like we trust each other. So there is a sense of sadness, maybe even a tinge of guilt, in knowing we won’t be here long. I wonder what and who could come after us? A recording studio? Will they offer tea and conversation to neighbors who pass by the windows?