Vision Train Newsletter
June 7th, 2020
Written by Marc Evan
“The word transcendent comes to mind when I think of the role of the artist in dealing with the issues of the day. I use that word to suggest that the role of the artist is to transcend the orthodoxy, to go beyond and escape what is handed down by the government or what is said in the media”.
— Howard Zinn Artists in Times of War
To our friends, both new and old, thank you for being a part of the journey with us on the Vision Train thus far. This past week has been a tumultuous time of many dramatic shifts. In the United States and around the world, we are seeing an awakening against racism, oppression, and police brutality like never before. The people are demanding to be heard and we are calling for justice, change, and equality.
Police brutality and systemic racism are not new problems. But never before have “We The People” been so connected across the globe. Never before has information been able to spread so quickly. And never again will we stand by and watch as our brothers and sisters are oppressed because of the color of their skin, their beliefs, their sexual orientations, genders, or ability.
It took a global pandemic to retrain the world on how we can use social media for positive human connections. And after two months of social distancing, tensions are running high among many. But there are also new opportunities to create meaningful change. People are rightfully angry. And the people now have new tools to stay connected and to spread information and love with a speed that has never before been possible.
As individuals we should be asking ourselves how we may be inadvertently contributing to systemic racism and what we can do to create change in our own behaviors and practices? How can we create changes in ourselves for the benefit of all? How can we create changes in the policies of those in power?
As artists we may be asking ourselves what can we do to help? Whether it's raising funds, actively protesting, calling elected officials, voting, or creating art with meaning -- we all have a role to play.
What visions will manifest in this time of unrest and change? Will you represent the anger and sadness the world is feeling? The grief? For us to personally and collectively heal, it's essential to recognize and acknowledge these darker emotions.
Or will you choose to honor the visions of love and light? Our representations of unity and peace are equally important in helping us to envision a future where all beings are treated with equal love and respect.
And how can we be more inclusive? In our art community? In our circles of friends and businesses? How can we speak with our art to all beings, not just those who look like us or agree with us?
Some of us have been posing these important questions for what may seem like our whole lives. While, for others we may be having new awakenings to how deep the levels of injustice go, and are searching for ways to respond. Wherever we are on this journey, we are making steps towards change and progress that will have wide ripples through our lives, our communities, and beyond.
We must stay active and fit for service. Artists have a unique role in society. There is power in visual mediums for delivering messages both subtle and overt. Art can be layered with meaning and nuance. Art can be a thing of beauty and of impact. The creation of art has unique possibilities to provide healing for both the creator and the viewer.
Those of us who first jumped on the Vision Train in response to the global pandemic, have seen the value in coming together in community, in response to a crisis. Now, it's time to adapt and shift our energies towards another global crisis. This is hard and uncomfortable work. It won’t be easy. And don’t forget about self care. We mustn’t be crippled by our empathy. We have a job to do and it's important to remain fit for service. As “Visionary Artists,” it is our duty to honor these visions and continue sharing them with others.
See you all onboard!