By Norm Brunelle
Olive Hill Center for Arts & Education
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” When Pablo Picasso made that statement, I’m 100% sure that he had no knowledge of Olive Hill, KY, let alone The Center for Arts & Education, [hereafter, The Center]. But I’m also convinced that he had a grasp of how important the arts are. For everyone.
I’ve a confession to make; I hate dusting. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the end product, but the process? Nope! And since I have a dog, the process can be even more of a chore! Now, I can’t speak for you, but as I look around at culture, everything seems to be getting more dusty. Day-to-day frustrations, concerns, and anxieties powder us over with distraction. And soon enough, the designed luster of life and living becomes, well, dusty. That’s where the arts come in!
In the same way dusting reveals the beauty of a wooden table, the arts gently brush away disruptions that so easily obscure the beauty of life. A beautiful quilt immerses one’s mind in colors and patterns even as it obscures disorder. Playing an instrument trains our spirit to recognize beautiful sounds even as it causes cluttering noise to fade. Painting focuses our actions on creating; an act of artistic defiance in the face of so much destruction. At age 62, I’m still naïve enough to see the same potential in learning to can and preserve food, listening to poetry and storytellers, singing a song, learning to needlepoint, getting my hands into clay, and passing on the beauty of heirloom seeds, or woodworking, or traditional horsemanship. I’m still naïve enough to believe that the arts aren’t simply about the production of some outward product, but the revealing of inward beauty; “…washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” And I think we all can agree that our soul is indeed a beautiful thing!
I believe very strongly that the arts are important because a part of our core identity is to be artistic and create; the arts are a part of our human nature. In one way or another, be it in imagination, talking and sharing, painting in watercolors, fashioning machines, refurbishing an antique, or passing on traditions, we all are artists. When we no longer foster the arts, we are essentially allowing parts of ourselves to become dusty and homeless.
Contained within the bricks and mortar of The Center are opportunities to remember, renew, and restore the importance of the arts; to wash away life’s dust, revealing the beauties of living. Support these precious occasions! Take lessons! Participate in workshops! Offer to sponsor a student! Donate time, sweat equity, or finances! Support the arts! It’s the fun way to dust!
We here at the Times believe Carter County is very lucky to have the number of venues and organizations it does supporting arts and activities in the county.
We encourage you to look into the organizations we write and share about in our pages, and to go out and participate in their gallery showings, shows, poetry readings, book clubs, classes, and events.
And if you hear someone complain there is nothing to do, please take a moment to share these events with them. Maybe even invite them to join you at an art exhibit or a musical show.
This weekend, in fact, would be a perfect time to do so.
Over in Grayson, the Grayson Gallery & Art Center will be hosting their monthly F!nal Fr!day exhibit and art contest, with a gaming, anime, and fandom theme as they celebrate Pride Month with ARTICON! an exhibition sponsored by Ashland KY Pride Youth, Smith Dungeon gaming, and Rt. 5 Village.
In addition to the regular art exhibit this show will feature cosplay, anime, karaoke, and more, including free refreshments and prizes. As always the show is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6.
If music is more your thing the Olive Hill Center for Arts & Education will be holding their annual “On With the Show” celebration of music from stage and screen on the same Friday evening. A limited number of dinner tickets are still available at ohcae.org, at $20 for adults and $10 for children. But if you’re just interested in the music the show is free, with doors opening at 6 p.m. for dinner and the show beginning at 7 p.m.
If you’re good with your time, you might even be able to squeeze in a bit of both, but you can’t go wrong with either.
So go out and shake some dust off. You won’t regret it!