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The ART of Our Homes

Statistically, I'm certain the world broke a record as to how much time was spent at home in 2020 --A year full of confusion and change and forced HOME. Some actually loved this, but for many, it meant facing even greater challenges. Our homes are diverse places: Quite literally, from mansions to cardboard boxes. But they can also be dwellings of safety and love or scenes of abuse or loneliness. I can't speak for where you are at, but I didn't want to ignore this diversity as I introduce my notion of the "ART" of the home being the HEART of the home.


I am not speaking of collecting art for investment or dismissing the need for safety and health. However, I encourage whoever is in a situation to be able to, to look around the place you call home and note anything you have that has meaning (people and pets included). And don't limit it to visual things...it could also include delicious foods or fantastic music. So they might not all be deemed "good" art (a thing of beauty), but they have good meaning to you (which in itself is a thing of beauty itself): They may be aesthetically beautiful or they may just be much loved, akin to the Velveteen Rabbit. I took a couple of minutes to do so and that gratefulness itself made me happy.


The "beauty" might be a memory evoked, a trial overcome, or simply its visual impact giving you moments of excitement or contentment. Marie Kondo, now a household name, encourages us to ask to only keep things that give us joy (necessary items excluded). In these difficult times, I have questioned if ART is really necessary. But I have concluded that we all need as much light as possible through dark days. And more importantly, that is it important to process through painful times with creative expressions, appreciations, and experiences.


So the days I feel cooped up (literally or figuratively) I remind myself about prisoners in Connecticut's Prison Arts Program who really are incarcerated and how ART is a part of their healing as well as provides a lasting testament to the culture: Their exhibits "brings together inmates and their families, revealing just how many lives are touched by incarceration and offering a means to reflect, to address, and to heal." A visitor stated they 'saw all of these people who could not help but make art because of who they are, where they are, and their need to confirm that they exist – and to express to their loved ones they are still there, need to be loved, and still love.'" (Huck Mag)


I need to begin to pick up my brush or pen on the days I don't feel like it. It is full of integrity to do so and adds to the narrative that becomes our culture. What will you express, appreciate or experience today? I am reminded, as I walk into my studio, of these three pieces: One for its celebration of fresh fruit; another for its joy of simplicity; and the third, for its reflection on dying leaves and the seasons in our lives.




Lorenda Harder Artist Studio