Hi, I'm Kristy Edwards, your new Curator of Art at the Museum of Arts and Sciences. I am delighted to have this position, one I feel is very well suited to my skills as a trained teacher and a practicing professional artist and my experience, which includes studying with some of the greatest living artists in the world. Art is my passion, and I have devoted every free moment to the study and making of it, to the conversations around it. I am very well versed in specific periods of art history yet utterly uneducated in others. Art is a vast subject, as extensive as the human experience. And the inability to know it all has kept me engaged and curious.
The writer, Elizabeth Gilbert, who has become a spiritual, cultural guru of sorts, speaks about curiosity and what that means to our happiness and creativity. To be curious is never to be bored. To follow one's personal line of curiosity means that you will always have something fresh and new in which to be delighted. I knew when I read the phrase "to evoke wonder" in the museum's mission statement, I was in the right place at the right time. During this current world state of the pandemic, a word I've grown to dislike because it is so closely related to the word "panic," we need art now more than ever. I feel sure to make art is a drive in every human being whether or not he is conscious of that drive. Unattended drives and needs can lead to all sorts of malaise, depression, agitation, worry, and strange behavior. I believe making art is meditative to the brain and good for the emotional health of a person. I think when one is not able or does not know how to make the art, one can look at the art of another human and say, "I get this." "I feel connected and less alone." One can also be wholly challenged and upset by a piece of art, leading to more curiosity about what inside them was triggered so profoundly?
Art increases our empathy and the skill to relate. If you can learn how to look at art in a meaningful way, to connect with it, you then have an ability that enables you to look at other things besides art- like people- in a meaningful way and connect. Art is never far from humanity. Art is a way into unity and away from separation. Not all art lends itself to such depths, to be sure. But much of it does, and to know the difference between the two is a helpful skill. Discernment is a skill that can travel across art to interactions and decision making in other areas of life. All of this involves critical thinking and understanding choices. These skills are essential for a healthy society and culture.
I am your helper in discovering art and your guide in approaching it with wonder. On Sunday afternoons, please join me here on the website to look at art together. I'll help you consider art in a way that will hopefully be meaningful. We'll look at our own pieces here in our collection–your collection–together. We'll relate it to poetry when possible and to other famous works from history. We'll start a conversation- a virtual, Salon, so to speak. I am committed to new ways to reach you all because you feel so far away. The internet and virtual zoom meetings can sometimes leave me feeling odd. The screen is cold to me sometimes. But it seems to be what we have at hand. I am hoping to find some unique way to lead you in learning to love art–not contingent on whether you like the art pieces or not–but to love the whole of art–that there is ART at all! So often, art points the way to the beauty that is in our lives. I have online classes I am proposing, and I have some interviews with artists too, some of whom I might not have had real-life physical access.
The good news is I can bring you, artists, from Croatia to Cleveland, New York to Newnan. Using technology, I can show what artists are making on this day right now. I can help you be more confident in the lingo- the artists' vocabulary- and help you say their names correctly. In short, I can do everything and anything I know to do to engage you and keep you engaged and interested, curious. It's all a great big experiment right now. The world is this one way today and another way tomorrow. How will we make art and see art at this time? The situation itself that we are in is like a piece of art that is undergoing its own making. The world is being recreated and reimagined as we speak much like a painting or -more aptly - an installation piece.
My job, insofar as I can see it from my chair right now, is to engage you in art in every and any way I can. This urgency is because I feel a calling to make sure everyone realizes that art is not a luxury but an absolute necessity. Art's relevance need not be justified. Its value to us need not be defended. But I do feel a sense that I am also an ART APOLOGIST in the tradition of the great philosophy of apologetics. It's my responsibility to help the community see that art exists for ART'S sake, and it is THE overarching subject. It's the story of human existence. Art is a record of what it is to be alive in this place at this time. And there are as many expressions of art as there are human experiences. My job is not a job at all; actually, it is a calling to which I am answering, feeling completely ready and willing, and completely overwhelmed with responsibility and passion. Join me on this. Let's find out what happens–where we're headed.