Everyone can be an artist


To the Editor:
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” — John Muir
Our priorities in life tend to be making sure that we have a place to live, food on the table, clean water to drink and safety. The need to protect the places of beauty and to make sure that “our” places where we live and work are clean and attractive tends not to be quite so strong. Survival trumps quality of survival!
We often push the importance of beauty and attractive places, objects and surroundings in our lives and our culture into the background even though we have met our survival needs. We become satisfied with the ordinary and not the extraordinary or special. The priority for the basics of living need to be balanced with the importance of beauty in our lives. They both offer elements that make our lives both pleasant and exciting – creating new dimensions in life.
Artists, designers, architects and landscape architects have strong feelings about beauty and what is attractive. They are charged with the idea of producing buildings, items, performances, places, and areas that are pleasant and attractive to the eye. That ability tends to be what makes them successful. In some cases they challenge our traditional concepts of beauty to look at items of art with new eyes.
In my mind, an art object does not necessarily have to be one that I “like.” What it can do is challenge my thinking and basic perspectives. It can raise questions and stimulate new thoughts and ideas.
Gerald Schnepf
Executive Director
Keep Iowa Beautiful
Des Moines, Iowa

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