While driving home from Evanston last night (where Henna and I helped Noel review a circus titled The Magical Exploding Boy) we talked a bit about staying still. This might sound funny coming from a family which mostly likes to move on, but let me explain.
We were in Evanston, a place we almost called home. Evanston is a community that thrives on art and this local reach among the residents is tangible; visceral. We had come from an old school building turned cultural center (the Noyes Cultural Arts Center) which now houses various artistic residents within its old walls on a night in which they were holding an open house. Most of the artist’s doors were open to allow spying eyes a glimpse a bit of their life’s passion. We heard a youth choir singing pop songs in a show tune way; we oohed and awed at lovely acrylic paintings that I could only ever hope to paint; and visited a few theatre companies. All of these endeavors are housed in a former school on Noyes Street. This home grown need for art was palpable, and filled me with great hope as I am certain that art in any form educates, equalizes and humanizes us. It’s something I so deeply believe in, and try to expose Henna to every chance I get. And here we were, among a community that does as much within its boundaries as a city to promote, support and develop art.
So back to the whole the art of staying still thing. Staying still, putting down roots, is essential to the type of art that flourishes. The show we saw was the best, most kick ass recital you’ll ever see your kid in. The Actor’s Gymnasium provides classes for gymnastics, circus performing, clowning, circus arts and more with this show part circus recital/ part professional art. It was amazing, and Henna loved it. But this theatre class company has been in Evanston for almost twenty years. It has set up base providing the area with something that is exciting, artistic and real. It is not only teaching the circus arts, but is also putting together a show that not only showcases their children’s talents, but also inspires the audience with a message. Art touches us. It also changes our perspective. Most of all it makes your heart beat fast and halts the rush of life to take notice of something amazing happening live right in front of you. I am thankful for creative folks who put so much work into these moments they share. It is this beauty of art within a community, laying roots that help to keep art alive and real. It is the antidote to the fast information, fast entertainment, quick, quick, and quicker.
Art is a powerful force than can transform neighborhoods and breathe life back into them sometimes, so much so that a push begins to happen, and these artists get displaced. Chicago also has many neighborhoods and artists that are putting everything into their passion and it makes me proud to be within that community, putting down our roots, and supporting it as much as we can. Corey