Several days ago, I had the opportunity to speak with a group of young women who are students at Parkdale High School. These young artists are participating in an exhibition here at art matters, the gallery project of Art Works Now. Each of them chose a specific theme, studied that theme, and then created artwork around it.
The work is extraordinarily moving. The young women chose themes including body image and domestic violence, and each of them spoke eloquently about their work and their discoveries at the exhibition reception.
Making art is an act of courage. Making art that is powerful and honest while exploring an issue of social or political justice requires the greatest courage and compassion.
These young women – and their work – remind me today of the reason I founded Art Works Now in 2011. I had been teaching art at a nearby high school for several years when I realized there was a new and mysterious project calling my attention. The inspiration for this project – for Art Works Now – was young women who had the extraordinary courage to make art about their lives, their questions, and the problems facing the world into which they were about to take their places as adults.
Our motto is “create the world you imagine.” When I founded Art Works Now five years ago, it was the beginning of a world far beyond my own imagination. It has been, and continues to be, an exquisite journey. Let’s start imagining all the great things to come during the next five!