Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Goes Up...

I love walking through an older town and tracing the rise and fall of its fortunes by the styles of its architecture. As you look at a graceful Victorian mercantile, and then note the subtle lines of an Art Deco bank building, it's clear that a town underwent several changes in status over the years. Where has your town been? And where is it going to be in ten years?
As bad as the current economy is, it's important to remember that this isn't the first time Americans have faced hardship. It won't be the last. What seems to get us out of our worst times is a surge in creativity. Not only in art, but in architecture, literature, music and theater. When Depression-era leaders chose to send people back to work by supporting them in the arts, it was a giant boon to this country. Optimism lifts me every time I see one of these old WPA murals. Public art was important back then.
Why isn't art important now? It seems as though the impetus is on technology to lift us out of our current malaise, and it's true that technology is crucial to our recovery. But we must also have the kind of art that spurs creativity. Creativity is the heart of any recovery.
The divine spark is what makes us human.
These photos are from a WPA mural in an old post office in Iron Mountain, Michigan. I heard they want to get rid of it.

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