Art Social

In titling this post I found that Art Social is a business that sponsors painting and wine tasting classes...which is sort of the opposite of what I intended this post to be about! I do lean towards the socially conscious practice of art, whether through content, action or just plain thoughtful living. A few things caught my eye this week that are important to the crossover of creativity and progressive thinking which to me should be one of the foundation of deciding to put things into the world in the first place! Below are a list of programs and resources that I think are vital to the way we look at not just art...but at everything. (All pictures courtesy of The Illuminator, Mission: To smash the myths of the information industry and shine a light on the urgent issues of our time.)

1. The Memphis Brooks Museum was an amazing place I visited a few years back, gracious hosts, a supreme art collection, community building & outreach, all perched upon a large green park in the middle of a ramshackle, sweltering, and awesome (!) city. This museum is currently hosting a series of tours for Alzheimer's patients that I think is absolutely incredible. The tours are directed, intimate, and focus on talking with the patients as individuals in hopes of invoking some sort of clarity or memory for those afflicted with the disease. Taking my own brain degenerative parent to see a Dali exhibit a few years back was truly something that touched him in a way that little else has, I am glad to see other people recognize the therapeutic value of art for these particular patients. This is a program that should be supported, cherished and copied throughout all museums!

2. The main thing that keeps me going in terms of blogging is the e-mails that I get from readers, a wide range of people who find this little site one way or another. Most recently an activist researching contacts for an infographic about the dangers & failings of tech industry jobs reached out after coming across my review of Blood In The Mobile- a beautiful, vivid doc/expose about African mineral mining. Apparently there is still little transparency when it comes to the sources of cell phone minerals but some orgs, like Make IT Fair for example, are still trying to make a better, cleaner, socially conscious wired world. Ask questions about your phone, who knows how many people are ultimately effected by it. (Also, I am really into the infographic craze as of late! A succinct, transmittable platform that displays information in an image based way creating maximum impact and exposure- a true melding of art & knowledge and a step up from a pesky graph! LOVE!)

3. Sort of can't believe I haven't written about The Public School on here before...are you familiar with this project? There is little info about the inception of The Public School other than that it started in 2007 in the basement of the Telic Arts Exchange in L.A. The way I interpret it is that proposals are made for classes, discussions, groups on a variety of subjects (The NoCal May calendar alone ranges from "Intro to Sanskrit" to a class titled "Fantastic Spaces In Cinema: Last Year at Marienbad"), usually on topics that are filling in the gaps of standard education, or promoting a specific type of community building activity. To me the most important phrase I came across when reading about The Public School was this: It is a framework that supports autodidactic activities, operating under the assumption that everything is in everything. I myself and a firm believer in self education, and also that the more we learn about as much as we can the more informed life we can lead (a belief in action that is more than evident in this little bloggy post!). The Public School operates in many major cities, take advantage of this resource!

4. And, last but not least: PUBLIC LIBRARIES! The small town I live in up in the bottom of Vermont has had some shady library board dealings as of late, a thing that I hope our little river community is done with for now...but, the experience did make me value the resource even more! The first job I ever had was a library page, then I had my brief stint in the New York book publishing kingdom, moving on to the film, arts & writing realms- all areas of my life tending to slope into the safe stacks brimming with free information and hushed tones. I know the internet allows so much information to be, literally, at our fingertips, making us tend towards discounting libraries, but libraries (in the progressive role they so often play) are changing with the rest of the world too, filling the new needs of the tech info revolution. Historical databases, Arduino workshops, downloadable e-books, lectures on constellations employing open source planetarium-esque apps are just a few of the ways my small town library is keeping up with the world! A librarian I know was talking about the basic function of libraries, of how they came into existence, and the terms she put it in were ones I never thought of: to educate and inform those who need to be informed in order to feel and be empowered- a true statement that my Brechtian heart fluttered at! Love your library! Dammit! It might just be the key to a new revolution!

Ok, so now I think I got some socially conscious artistic resources out of my system and out into the world! I know these types of posts don't get a lot of hits but I will continue to make them as I feel it is my civic duty to bridge life and fact, it is everyone's civic duty to inform themselves for the betterment of both themselves and the world (do I sound like the label to Dr. Bronner's yet?). Learning Not Fear!



Donna K. lives in the Midwest and on the internet. Mostly she writes about her interest in the offline world.