Art as Refuge

Today I wandered through an art opening here in town, built around the theme of funny faces. My spirits lifted the second I walked in the gallery door. People were standing around in small groups, chit chatting as we do, especially in a small town on Saturdays.

As I looked at each piece and read the artist descriptions of the inspiration behind each one, I thought about our upcoming Art for Refuge show. The inspiration there for us is simple: raise as many funds as possible to bring as many Syrian refugees as possible to a new life in Canada. For the artists, we invited them to create around the themes of “refuge” and “refugee.” We put out a blind call, inviting people to tell people to tell people, and my spreadsheet for the show has 24 artists on it. The latest I added today when someone called me out of the blue and said they were about to frame an oil painting they had created for the show. Amazing.

Holly’s english teacher donated four beautiful interpretative landscapes — she didn’t know he was an accomplished artist. That was a fun revelation and so generous. I knew I liked that guy. Another artist dropped off a sculpture of a mother holding her child aloft in delight, crafted from recycled materials, including t-shirts. We have a huge portrait of John Lennon. We have photography on its way.

It is humbling to realize the art we are gathering will accomplish something extremely practical and life-changing very soon.

As I look around our own home, and the art we have collected through yard sales (!), through friends, through barters and exchange, through saving and paying a little bit each month, and through deciding it was worth it, I realize it makes our home a refuge to me. Art does that. Art is that.


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