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September 2012 Publisher Letter

Recently, my family and I took a Sunday trip to the Milwaukee Art Museum to see the Posters of Paris exhibit and generally enjoy the museum’s Family Day activities. When I encouraged my son, Yonatan, to take a seat at one of several art activities tables, he urged me to participate as well. “Oh, it’s just for kids,” I automatically replied. But then I noticed several adults committed to the activities, so with a self-conscious chuckle, I agreed to join in.

We sat together at a table where our project involved coloring, drawing and gluing on an assortment of odd feathers and goofy eyes to create cardboard chickens. We laughed along with our neighbors as we generously shared materials and admired one another’s creations. As an adult who does not regularly attempt to make art, applying a marker to cardstock after so many years without practice was intimidating, but then I noticed that the children at the table didn’t give it a second thought. Rather, they busily scribbled and drew and proudly displayed their purple, green and pink chickens complete with misplaced eyes and funny beaks. Slowly, I began to rediscover how liberating it feels to let go of self-critical fears like, “How will it turn out?” and “What will people think?”

We were so happy with our first adventure that we eagerly moved on to another table to paint our own Poster of Paris. I couldn’t remember the last time I held a paint brush in my hand, but decided to just let the strokes flow, regardless of the outcome. How exhilarating! Still, the best part of it all for me was the joy of gathering as a community and sharing laughter around a fresh experience with new people that, after just a few minutes, were strangers no more.

This month, Natural Awakenings celebrates renewing our creative lease on life, led by Judith Fertig’s, “Exploring our Creative Side,” which portrays how community arts can engage people from every walk of life in joyous personal growth and can create strong social bonds. The Metro Milwaukee area is ripe with sparkigniting opportunities to collaborate in theater, dance, music or countless other artful passions—even one as simply liberating as creating a funky chicken picture in the midst of art masterpieces.

Go forth and create!

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher

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