Art does a heart good
By Patricia Baer
Jan. 31 is national Inspire Your Heart With Art Day. It is sort of a clunky title for one of those quirky national holiday celebrations, but the sentiment is important.
The day is meant to be a time for reflection on how art effects your emotions. It is a day to explore whatever art form speaks to you, whether that is music, dance, theatre, visual arts, or anything creative. It is also a day to inspire others through art either by sharing your personal work, introducing someone to a favorite museum, or engaging in a little creative play with the children in your life.
I enjoy almost all forms of art. If I can see or hear a clear story in the piece at hand, I am hooked.
My mood is most affected by music, though. One of the greatest positives to owning a home, in my opinion, is being able to flood the kitchen with music as I sing and dance my way through cooking dinner and washing dishes without worrying what the neighbors think of my off-key serenade.
Music helps me unwind at the end of a long day and allows me to let go of whatever burdening stressor I have been carrying around.
While most of the snippets I have read describing the holiday involve contemplating how art impacts a person’s emotions directly, I sometimes find more inspiration in experiencing the creative process of others in action. This happens to me regularly during play rehearsals when I am stage managing, but it happened more strongly when I was teaching.
I spent several years in the Washington, D.C. area working at Round House Theatre. During the week, my “day job” was in the marketing department, but on weekends I was one of their artist instructors working with children ages 3-17.
Usually my classes were at the lower end of that range, the preschoolers in the “Drama Tots” class or the grade school kids. It was their uncensored creativity that surprised and energized me the most.
One day a student caught me off guard and motivated me to think more outside of the box myself. The student was in my first grade class. We were playing a game where I would name a noun, a puppy for instance, give them a minute to get into character, and then provide an activity to act out.
One day I said “Banana,” and as all the children stood still in their banana poses, one boy discreetly looked around as if ensuring the coast was clear, then began “peeling” himself, as if the fruit inside was ditching the “costume” and about to make a run for it.
My celebration of the holiday this Saturday probably will be limited to some wall painting at home, but maybe The Banana Kid will inspire me to create a room that is a little more quirky.