By Anne E. O’Keefe
Rockford Area Arts Council
I am an arts administrator, not an artist. For ArtScene I was casually invited, along with any willing participant, to submit a piece of artwork to a show at CNVR. The show title is “MEANINGLESS ArtShow.” The invitation was to “submit work without intention or purpose.
Photographs, sculptures, bicycles, abandoned and rediscovered objects and other ‘art’.” At first that directive sounds easy enough. It sounds like a great way to start interesting conversations. It even sounds like it could be fun, but then it takes a turn and becomes intimidating to the non-artists. The show has real artists participating; DeCastris, Downey, Klonicki and Korona. But sometimes you just gotta say what the heck, and take a risk.
My artistic endeavors haven’t always been successful nor have followed along the normal timeline of a young, budding artist. I took ballet from Ms. Marguerite, it was short lived. I panicked on stage during our big performance and curtsied wrong. I created a piece of visual art work in the 1979, for the Young Artist Show while I was a student at St. Peter’s. My Cray pas “thistle” was chosen.
I was elated even though I knew I wasn’t the best and that it would likely be the last piece of work I created for public consumption. I was a student of Matt Swan and Scott Whipple at Young American Theater, and I thought I must have misunderstood Swan when he told me I got the role of Vivian Mooster, one of the leads in David Mamet’s “Revenge of the Space Pandas or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock”. I took piano from JoAnn Peterson, didn’t start until senior year of high school. The recital was funny, me and a bunch of 7-year-olds. My mom said I was the best.
Everyone benefits from an artistic outlet. Even if it isn’t a career choice, we all should find that thing that lets us express ourselves in a way that may even push our limits a little.
The valuable lesson I was reminded of in the process of submitting a piece of artwork was that the arts are very personal and further embedded by deep respect for artists who are on display as a way of making a living. We have so many artists in our community, visual, performing and literary, who have studied, or are self-taught, who work daily to perfect their craft. We cannot underestimate artists’ dedication to bringing the world an expression to be shared, revered, and sometimes questioned.
We’ve all overheard, “I could do that,” and perhaps for a small part of the population that is a true statement. But for many of us that is simply not a reality. All of us, however, can find an enriching experience in our own creation. The creation of art can free us, increase our sense of self and our impact on the world around us and many times is the thing that truly fulfills us. Create today.