Why did we start Art is Moving?

 

Lisa:

So Lauren, why did we begin Art is Moving?

Lauren:

Why did we start Art is Moving? I think that, let’s see, we met in class when we were getting our Masters. I believe it was our buddy Mark Lindsay that introduced us to each other in one of our classes. And we just started talking a lot about art, I think, you know, and transformation and what art does for people. I feel like we were connected to each other and we wanted, we figured out that we kind of wanted to do the same thing as artists and that thing being sort of helping other people get helped by art, the way we were helped by art, you know? And so we just started, I don’t know, every time and it still happens – We’ve been doing this since 2008 and we talk to each other we, I think we sort of fuel each other’s fire in terms of, you know, what art is this amazing thing, and it can help people. Then we come up with these ideas for how we can get more people to make art, because we know that because we’ve seen it now, we’ve seen it, but we knew it at the time we were starting that it was this tool, this amazing tool that not enough people were using to communicate with the world and with themselves and to,you know, feel better emotionally and mentally. I mean, why did we start Art is Moving?

Lisa:

That’s an interesting question. Well, I know, I think it happened over beer. We were drinking some beer. I think I was teaching the transformative art to kids in the foster care system. So I really knew the power of art to heal and transform. And you had that amazing project where you were at the BART and you were offering people to make art for free kind of like the

Lauren:

Oh right! The Art is Free and Priceless Project. Yeah, I guess that was, yeah, it was like the combination of those two things happening at the same time. Yeah.

Lisa:

I think cause you, we were at Jupiters in Berkeley and I was so excited. I think we got so excited talking about the power of art and you’re like, everybody should do it. I’m like, oh my God. I think at that moment in time too art was really passive. Meaning most people went into museums and they just looked at art. They didn’t really, I mean, you know, they didn’t really engage with it. And then

Lauren:

This was in 2008.

Lisa:

Yeah. Yeah. That was in 2008.

Lauren:

2008. Right. And, and yeah. And we were talking about the fact that, well that some people didn’t even have access to view art because museums weren’t free and we went into like you, I feel like I came in with this notion that everybody deserves access to art and the opportunity to feel its amazing positive impact. And you came this realm of like um you know, that it has this transformative power and I’ve seen it and it not only saved me, but I’ve seen it save several children who are not in a positive state in their life. And so we like combined those two things. We combine those two ideas, these ideas, well, okay. How can we, how can we get more people to make it or have access to it in order to feel the positive impact of that?

Lisa:

Yeah. So I think, and then I guess as a collaboration, I think the power was that if you meet the personality, what’s your personality and my personality meet and we just start talking and the creative ideas just go out of the box and we’re like, “Whoa, we can do this.” And I think as a collaborative team, we don’t really think we can’t do anything. I mean, we feel like we can do it. Do you know what I mean? We don’t like, we don’t look at an idea and go, oh, that’s just not possible. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that come from us as a team. So that’s

Lauren:

No, I, yeah. And I, I feel like I here’s what it was, it was, we were basically like we want people to have this dialogue, like we’re having about art and we want them to be feel as though they can, that anyone is allowed to talk about art. That’s what we did. We started videotaping ourselves. That’s when we started visiting, visiting museums and galleries. Cause we were both in the bay area at the time. So we had a ton of access to it and we would sit outside. Right. We would go see a show and then we would sit outside and sometimes we had friends with us and we would, we would be like, okay, everybody let’s sort of digest what we just saw. And then we would invite other people to sort of join the dialogue. So I think it started as centered around kind of what we were experiencing with each other. Trying to create a ripple effect of that and kind of say, Hey, anybody else want to join this conversation about, about art and how it makes us feel and what it can do for an individual and a community.

Lisa:

Yeah, that’s true. And then we also did kind of the an intervention where we put like postcards in SF MoMA saying, you know, why don’t you engage with art or whatever. I don’t know if we did the take in our break at that moment in time, but we were kind of like 

Lauren:

It was, I think it was a reaction of like what did you think, you know, how did this art make you feel?

Lisa:

Yeah. So that was really began. And then I think when we got the grant for the art cart, cause then we were talking about, let’s expand this more. Maybe we should have museums like have art inside. You know, what I mean? Like where we actually do it. Where you’re actually making art with the masterpiece or whatever. So there was no, there was no hierarchy in the art itself. It was like, I am a creator and what’s on the wall or the creation. Yeah.

Lauren:

Yeah. Cause at the time that wasn’t really happening, right?

Lisa:

No! That was the big area. It was nonexistent actually.

Lauren:

Yeah. So I feel, I feel like we thought to ourselves, well, if some people can’t, if some people can’t have like get themselves to a place that has art, perhaps we should bring the art to them and that’s came up with the art cart and we had we had an opportunity in Koreatown Northgate to do that.

Lisa:

Yeah. And so basically we took, we were in the museums, you know, creating conversations about it, opening up that conversation to the world. Like anybody can talk about art, anybody, see what it makes them feel. And then we took art to the streets and that’s where really the magic happen because that summer that we dragged that Artcart down the road. I never, it was so profound how strangers connected through the art making process, like it was amazing to me, like it was proof. It was like almost like what we were talking about, impossibly abstract. We actually were on the ground and saw the magic and the power of art. So that was amazing. Yeah.

Lauren:

Yeah. I think that’s what it was. It was sort of I think the Artcart was the beginning to the point of where we are now. Right. That was in, that was in 2009, 2009 that we did that.

Lisa:

Yeah. And then, then that’s when we started talking and like thinking of big ideas and out of the box ideas. And then when it was like, oh my God, what if we had Art Break Day? Like on one day on the planet, people would be setting up free art making stations on every corner in the world, creating together, like what would happen? You know, how cool would that be? Cause we saw what happened. So that’s how the Art Break Day was formed.

Lauren:

Yeah. So what is Art is Moving now? So our, our tagline is Take an Art Break. Make the world better.

Lisa:

Yeah. I think over the years, I mean, from my own experience and your experience and the combination of the two and from our projects that we’ve done and from the thousands of people that we’ve facilitated art-making with, I think I, this is what I’m thinking. Art is Moving is where it’s, where it’s like art is in the realm of wellness, self care. And that’s why we think that everybody should do it as a daily practice. So it’s like, I think we’ve evolved from a conversation to art on the streets to empowering people in communities to to almost like a movement of art as wellness, you know, art is part of this big wellness movement that we all really, really need.

Lauren:

Okay. So when I’m getting the timeline is it’s two women who like to talk about art, who had both experienced what we call the power of art, basically. The fact that making art can help you express yourself and feel better mentally, emotionally things of that realm. So we, we joined each other in those conversations, but also with this passion to kind of spread that around, spread the spread that awesomeness of art around. And we both have a passion for doing that. And we’ve talked in the past about artists where we feel like we’re, we’re sort of servants to our community. We view that we as artists aren’t necessarily the artists that only hang art on the wall, but we are artists that are sort of, in the community itself.

Lauren:

Okay. So we have this dialogue and we’re looking at art and we’re trying to talk about art to make other people feel more comfortable about art, which moves to this other conversation. Because you and I are constantly talking about art. I’m saying, okay, museums, maybe some people don’t go to museums. We know that for a fact that people are like museums, I don’t, I’m going to go to a museum. Okay. So how do we reach those people that either can’t get to a museum because they don’t have access or they don’t have the funds or they don’t live in a location that has one okay. So then we bring them essentially we bring the museum to them that that becomes the Artcart. We push an Artcart, you set it up on a random street corner and we invite everybody to make art.

Lauren:

And the important part is, is it’s free. That’s the access part. Okay. So then after we make those 650 artworks in three months in Oakland, California, we continue to have this conversation where we’re like, all right, but, but how do we make this bigger? We’re only two people in the city of Oakland, California. What if people in other cities do that? So this was another conversation that we had. Right. Right. I remember this. And then we were like, all right, we’re all, we’re constantly expanding, finding ways to expand our reaches. Right. That’s what we all right. Then Art Break Day happens. No, you know what happened first? It was Art in your Pocket, wasn’t it? Oh yeah.

Lisa:

Art in your Pocket was like, we were thinking like what in random spaces? Like what if the DMV, you could open up a little pack and make art.

Lauren:

Yeah. Right. Cause if we, if we could mail this three inch by two inch box full of art supplies, then we, you literally could take an art break anywhere. Yeah. But then we were like, okay. So how do we, how do we get people’s attention? Right. I think Art Break Day kind of happened at this point in our conversation, in our experience where we realized that some people weren’t excited about necessarily encountering art. Like they, aren’t gonna, they’re not gonna use an Art in your Pocket. They’re not going to go to a museum. So how do we get them to make art? So we were like, all right, we put it in a public space that isn’t normally for art. Right. We make it free. And we, and we, we shout at them when they walk in and we’re like, Hey, you should totally do this. And that’s where Art Break Day started. And that was 2011. 2020 will be our 10th Art Break Day.

Lisa:

And you know, what is cool about it? Because also our collaboration is it’s a woman, women supporting women. And it seems like a lot of our Art Break Day sites are women run, which is fascinating. Just kind of observing that. So it’s almost like Art is Moving is also supporting the, you know, women’s supporting yeah. Cool for a collaboration.

Lauren:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you can kind of see how we got to where we are. And I feel like we were just talking in our last conversation that, okay. It’s, you know, we’ve been collaborating since 2008, we’ve been doing Art Break Day since 2011 and the it’s different, there are interactive art making spaces within museums. Now there are museums have jumped on that train or whenever you want to call it. Of making art spaces, more interactive. Figuring that people will engage more with the artwork if they’re interactive. And perhaps they will learn at their experience in the museum that, oh, by golly, this is actually helping me. And maybe I’ll go pick up some art supplies on the way home, you know? And so now the goal is what you were saying before. Well, it’s always been the goal, but you can focus on making it part of sort of your, your daily practice. Right. In the very beginning, we’ve compared an art break to a coffee break. And I legit think it’s exactly the same thing. Right. Rather than going outside and smoking a cigarette, why not take a sketchpad and draw the bird that’s sitting in the tree and kind of see how your day goes if you did that instead. So yeah. We feel like art is like what exercise eating right. Kind of deal

Lisa:

Feeds your soul. Feeds your spirit. But also I think what we’re we’re at this point in Art is Moving we’re we’re at this point where we, we, we now know that there are certain people that are challenged with art. So are, you know what I mean? They don’t want to go near it. They don’t want to do it. I mean, Art Break Day would have been a million sites if everybody in the world wanted to do it, but we have a lot of people, I think this is our challenge at the moment right now. It’s like, why, why aren’t people open to creating art? And I know that we have a lot of ideas about that.

Lauren:

Yeah. You call it. Yeah. You call them Art Break Avoiders.

Lisa:

Yeah. I think there are. We’ve put it out into the world. We’ve seen the change that is happening. Meaning there’s a lot of more interaction. People are doing more art. I mean, obviously, but then there’s still this large sector of the population that has an avoidance to it.

Lauren:

Yeah, I think our goal has always been, you know, to make art less scary. Right. Then I started with the dialogue piece and then we started with Artcart and we created that no judgment zone and, you know, and it’s, it’s almost like you have to coax people to do it. I say like in my own personal work that I essentially trick people into making art. It’s what I do. I trick them into making art because some people right. Are, are afraid of it. And yeah, I think 2020 is going to be about how do we reach those people? How do we reach the people? Okay. They’re not going to museums. I’m not going to get an art in your pocket, in the mail. You also have Give An Art Break, we have the posts that we send. I’m not going to get one of those. How do we reach those people? How do we reach the people that essentially are afraid of art? I would argue feel as though it is not necessary.

Lisa:

Yeah. Or there’s no value to it in, in society.

Lauren:

And really pushing that edge of like what we’re going to do. Yeah. I think, wow, that is, that is us. That’s Lauren and Lisa,

Lisa:

The question why we collaborated or why we, this relationship developed and then it became Art is Moving. And as you see, you’re, you know, we’re, we’re not stopping here we’re, you know, and we’re gonna, you know, I think, yeah, we’re going to figure out why people don’t want to make art and trick them into making art. I’m just kidding.

Lauren:

Yeah. I mean, if, if we believe which we do that everyone is an artist, we just have to convince them of that.

Lisa:

And also I think we believe that art makes this place a better world. You know, it makes it a more beautiful world. It makes you, if you create, a more beautiful person. So we just want, you know, I think as artists, we want the world to be better. And we know that art is a beautiful vehicle for that. A perfect vehicle for that.

Lauren:

Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to speak for you, but I do think that my job as an artist is to get more people to make art, because I think that the more people that make art, the better the world will be,

Lisa:

Absolutely.

Lauren:

That’s from personal experience. And it’s from my experience with Art is Moving, I mean, we should have probably counted how many people we witnessed you know, say, “Oh my gosh, I’m so glad that I decided to do this.”

Lisa:

I can’t even count. I mean, there’s so many people that have breakthroughs after taking a five minute art break for free, and it’s almost like they, they, it’s almost like they have to get over it, even if they’re a little afraid, but if they get over that hurdle and just sit down and creating, then they’re like, oh, this is fun. You know,

Lauren:

It’s not as scary as I thought it was gonna be. We’re constantly saying that, right. It’s easier than you think

Lisa:

Exactly. It’s simple. I, and I think that’s the another potent quality or key to Art is Moving is it doesn’t have to be, you know, a canvas. It’s a simple idea of creating something, you know, taking a moment of time out of your day and creating, and the world will be better. You’ll be better.

Lauren:

Awesome. We have done a lot and we’ve got a lot of work to do

Lisa:

So until next time.

Lauren:

Hi, there, it’s Lauren, you just heard a conversation between my collaborator, Lisa Rasmussen and myself. We started this podcast because we’ve been meeting about on a weekly basis for the last 12 years. And we love to talk about art and we thought that there might be other people out there that also love to talk about art or have questions about art and what it can do and want to talk about it with other people. So, the first couple podcasts will introduce you to both Lisa and myself and our nonprofit Art is Moving to give you sort of a basis in terms of where we’re coming from, in terms of art and what we hope to do as artists in our community and in the world. So check us out. Our website is artismoving.org. Send us an email. If you are inspired to ask a question or you would like to join us on our podcast and help us answer a question or rather help us talk about a question. We definitely have more questions than we have answers, but we certainly do enjoy feedback from other folks and want to turn this into, let’s say a global dialogue about art and what art can do to make the world better. So, join the conversation and we’ll talk to you soon.

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