There’s power in art. — Arts Corps

I wake up and it is silent

There’s no noise

The sun is peeking through the blinds of my bedroom in which I see that the wind ruffle the leaves of our magnolia tree.

I hear the end, today, also.

Two hummingbirds are buzzing at the feeder suction cupped to my window. They break and drink the sugary water and watch me through the window.  

A crow caws since it flies past, and my wife rolls over in her bed. The sound of her breathing is extended and quantified.  

I wake up just like this, everyday. It’s extremely calm and also the most relaxing thing I’ve ever experienced.

Yet, my heart is beating fast, extremely fast, like wings of the hummingbird beyond my window. There’s a knot of stress that will not dissipate. Some thing has a hold in my torso and my breathing is shallow. Why? What’s making me feel like this, when I wake up in such an idyllic atmosphere?

I pick up my telephone that is next to me in my nightstand, and then I understand why. Why I’ve felt this way, why I’ve felt uncomfortable since I moved from Brooklyn to Seattle.  

I feel unsafe. I believe that my own life is jeopardized.  

Scratch that.

I am aware that my own life is jeopardized.

People are being killed by the police, almost on a daily basis. The rights of homosexual and transgendered men and women are being stripped away from them. Muslims have been targeted at bigots and refused entrance into the “land of the free” The education system is in shambles and young folks are being terrorized by current policy. Teachers are deemed useless; you will find posts about teachers being replaced by AI. Artistic expression and creativity is shunned, but is located are approved. The difference between the wealthy and poor is widening, as is that the divide between black and white. Canada was on fire, and also the smokescreen has made Seattle’s air quality similar to Beijing. White Supremacists are marching in Virginia, burning torches, also dispersing vitriol, bolstered by a nation that has chosen hate as its type of expression.  

Polar ice caps are melting and it is far too hot. Animals and trees are dying, and I am laying in bed, and it is quiet and serene.  

It is feels like I am lying in a coffin.

I am aware that I am lucky, but I know my fortune will end. Our luck will soon end. I wake up every day thinking today will be the day. The day my life will be taken away from me.

Then I recall

We are stronger together.

From darkness, there is light.

There is power in art.

After the dark ages in Europe there was the renaissance. Due to da Vinci, we understood flight.  

After years of “let them eat cake,” we had the French Revolution and also it, folk tales by the Brothers Grimm and songs in Mozart and Beethoven. Artists turning their anxieties and desires   into children’s stories and complex musical notes.

After the Mexican Revolution, we found that the revolutionary time of Mexican Muralism, which attracted us artists like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. From bloodshed and warfare, these muralists created images of family life also, of course working class folks, typically overlooked, in classical art.

During the Great Depression, there was the Harlem Renaissance, highlighting Black performers of the 20’s. From a time when people were catching pigeons out of the skies for dinner, Black musicians were holding onto life, by representing what they saw on earth. There would be no jazz, rock n roll, or hip hop without the Harlem Renaissance.

I wonder what art will spring ahead depending on the lives we are living in 2017. How will the youth of tomorrow visit that the youth of today?