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Art is in the eye of the beholder.

February 27, 2024

I am always amazing by artists, how they can create something out of nothing, paint a picture that evokes emotions and depict whole stories through the stroke of the brush, or the needle, or the clay or any other material. I can't do that. I have little ability to draw and create artistic beauty out of nothing. While I don't understand all art I can still admire it and enjoy the beauty. In Merced murals are being created that make me smile. Last week I got to meet some of the artists who create beauty and are painting a food box for us. When we drive through the city we see utility boxes that changed from grey boxes of nothing to stars and suns and beautiful animals. Just amazing!

A while back in Winton a team of volunteers created a mural on a street where the wall was always graffitied. It lasted for years with only needing minor touchups. But recently gangs have started using that wall to mark their territory. So a local community member came and offered to repaint the wall, and we were excited. The final product was a "welcome to Winton" in bright colors, but the script used was common to some tag artists and community members voiced their frustration and their fear that it will attract more gangs. I have to admit I was frustrated. While the script might have not been my preference (remember I am an old person), the fact that the community member took the initiative to help outweighed my concerns.

This week I will talk with the amazing artist and share the concerns and see how we can make some changes to make it more appealing for all ages and it will still be beautiful in the end.

But I think my frustration lies in the fact that people were complaining about the graffiti in the first place, but only one person stepped up to do something about it, and then people complained about that as well.

Maybe we need to rethink how we all become change agents ourselves. How we all can give of our time, energy, and resources to make our communities a better place, instead of just griping about it. Maybe we need to reevaluate what we consider art and enjoy the beauty around us. I will never be able to paint anything, but I can do other things. We all have gifts and abilities, let's use them to make our communities better places and not just complain about what is not working.

I want to challenge myself to view art as a way to remember the people behind it, their stories, their struggles, their creativity, their beauty and recognize the value of every human being, even when I don't understand the artwork itself. Because art is in the eyes of the beholder.

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