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Soul of A Nation

A couple of weekends ago, we ran The Hogeye Half Marathon. After the half, we went to Crystal Bridges Museum of Art to see the Soul of a Nation; Art in the Age of Black Power exhibit. It was fantastic! If you don’t have the opportunity to go see it in person, you should at least read about it. It is such an important part of our history as a nation. This exhibit includes paintings, street photography, murals, sculptures and many more items. These works were often the only way feelings about what was going on in our country could be expressed. These works are described as “era-defining”. I would have to agree with that. It was quite powerful to see and hard to imagine the things that these people experienced in this country that claimed to be “home of the free.”


Self by Martin Puryer

Towards the end of the exhibit I came across a large sculpture by Martin Puryear simply entitled Self. When one first glances at this sculpture, it looks like a large black mass. It kind of resembled a whale halfway out of the water to me, but after really studying it, there was so much more to it than that. It was quite intriguing. The description stated the artist “created Self from horizontal and vertical sheets and mahogany and red cedar, stained black. The sculpture appears solid, but is hollow. It has no image or declared identity, and its shape is ambiguous – resisting any specific meaning. ‘It’s meant to be a visual notion of the self, rather than any particular self,’ Puryear said. ‘The self as a secret entity, as a secret, hidden place.’” Wow! Let that sink in for a minute. That is one of the reasons I love art, because the interpretation can be different for everyone.

ic church stained glass

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Art is such an important way to identify and tell a historical story. Just think about Michelangelo, for example. What a shame it would be for this world to not have his art. Being Catholic, art and relics are very important to our church. Every time I enter our church, I am in awe of the stained glass which was donated by parishioners in the 1800s. What a gift they gave and it keeps giving even over a century later.

Of course, most of us can’t afford to have a Picasso hanging in our homes, but we can display our own art and items we’ve collected from memorable occasions. I’ve mentioned in the past, that we always buy something while traveling. Some of my favorite items in my home are things we’ve obtained on various trips. These items never cost much money, but to us they are priceless. For example, the painting below has a funny story that goes with it. The girls and I thought for sure the hubs was kidnapped and thrown in a box truck while going with the man to pay for the painting. Needless, to say an hour later, he returned….unharmed. So now everytime we look at this painting, it reminds us of that and our amazing vacation. Oh, this was also the vacation that we go to do a fun Amazing Cozumel Race adventure!

Mexico painting

Canvas painting we purchased from a local artist while vacationing in Mexico.

Art is everywhere around us and it’s different for everyone. Maybe you love music or an old hymn reminds you of a loved one. Why not frame the sheet music? Art is what you interpret as art. Teach your kids to appreciate art and all that it has to offer.

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