In a recent podcast interview, my guest, Jean, and I talked about art and community. She said that art is “uniquely qualified to tell stories,” and the shared experience of watching/hearing/feeling/seeing art of all kinds is unifying versus divisive.
When she said that, I saw art as the Trojan horse in building community. It elevates us above our differences and offers an opportunity to connect on a whole different level. To appreciate a jazz quartet’s playing or a contemporary dance performance or a fine meal with beautiful plating, your heart has to be open. And when your heart is open, you can’t hate or be angry. When your heart is open, it is open not just for the art but also for other people.
How many times (pre-pandemic) have we comment to a stranger after a show or at the exhibit of what we had just experienced?
Community comes from connection. Connection can be facilitated by a shared heart-opening experience. That experience can come from art.