The World is a Canvas

By Catherine Lang-Cline

2020 has been one heck of a year. Because of this pandemic we have been denied some of the things that bring us love and joy. We can’t visit relatives. We can’t visit friends. We can’t go to work. We can’t go on vacation. We can’t go to museums, concerts, performances, or even the library. One thing that has been used on the increase during these times is the internet. It is the one crack in the bleakness that provides us access to calls with families, streaming entertainment, shopping, dining, and the arts. Having access to all of these things has been a lifeline for many people.

Some of the things that people miss the most are going out to a movie, a concert, going to a museum; just being out among beautiful things. It is the arts that we miss and it is a fact that the arts can get us through a crisis.

How many times have we been upset or happy and we just cranked up the volume on our car radio, screamed the lyrics, and drove? If you haven’t done this, trying in the privacy of your own home or bathroom because of how it changes our mood is nothing short of remarkable. How many of us sang with the band at a concert, laughed with a group of strangers in a movie, or just miss going to the library to read a really great story?

“Music is what feelings sound like.” – Georgia Cates

Just like music, dance and visual arts can change our mood. Which brings me to my next example. As 2020 marches on we have experienced one of the largest racial unrests that we have in years. Some people marched, some people looted, and soon after the plywood boards went up to protect windows or to cover broken ones. What happened next was amazing and artistic. Artists came out on those busy streets and sidewalks and started painting. They painted messages of solidarity, love, and hope. One minute we were looking at destroyed storefronts that reflected our hearts and souls and the next minute we were looking at amazing art that filled the void. The art saved us.

“Poetry and art nourish the soul of the world with the flavor-filled substances of beauty, wisdom and truth.” ― Aberjhani

From this moment to the many blank canvases before that, the artists have seen the crisis or the moment and got to work. This is how civilization can heal. We see walls in fallen areas covered in graffiti messages and images that range from gallery-worthy creations to someone just wanting to be seen or heard. We could be looking at something broken but instead, we are looking at something that lifts our eyes, our hearts, and our hope.

I encourage you to look at the plywood masterpieces found in Providence, Fort Wayne, Portland, San Diego, and here in Columbus. This does not replace the loss of material things or human life but it does tell a story, our story.