Letter from Suzi Hudson, Executive Director
As someone who has dedicated the majority of my working years to art-making and building community through art, I still struggle to succinctly express what I love about art, how I believe art saves us, and why art is so important. I like Seth Godin’s definition of art which contains three elements:
- Art is made by a human being.
- Art is created to have an impact, to change someone else.
- Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording… but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.
I love that art is a gift. That it demands an element of generosity from its maker. Art traces our humanity and in so doing, preserves it.
Preserving humanity are two amazing artists, May Lee-Yang and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, who will perform their Hmong-Lao Friendship Play at WBCA on Saturday, June 3rd (see page 4). This is a comedy about real-life BFFs, May (a Hmong refugee) and Saymoukda (a Lao refugee), and their art inspires generosity through humor and openness.
I love that art holds a measure of hope that human goodness can prevail. Even when art holds a mirror up to humanity’s darkness, the goal is not to browbeat, but rather to inspire change. American contemporary artist Lin Evola writes, “Art itself opens a door to excite us into a pause.” I love that.
When art opens a door, the gift helps us better understand each other as human beings, such as WBCA’s 2017 artist-in-residence Wing Young Huie demonstrated in his work with area youth this past spring. Wing structured over 1,500 conversations between teens who didn’t know each other well asking one another “What Do You See?” The students documented their conversations through art. The results? An exhibition of courage, honesty, and transformation. Please join us for a public reception to celebrate the youth and Wing Young Huie on June 8, 6:30-8:30 PM (see page 4 for details).
And lastly, I love that the word art may have its roots in the Greek suffix ar which means “to join together.” That’s really what I want to say. Art joins us together.
So there you have it, my not-so-succinct reasons for making art as much as possible this summer. This catalog is full of generous artists knocking at your door, bearing gifts. Our door is open. Please come.