Together Project

The Art of Wellness

A Together Project with Beth Benson/Crestline Creatrix Matrix

Reflection written by Beth Benson

The partnership between the Crestline Creatrix Matrix and Art is Moving in the context of The Art of Wellness, as curated and co-created with Lisa Rasumussen, MFA and The Lark Gallery was such a marvelous return to the ART of sitting with art materials and making with strangers–something that has been nearly impossible to do in public since the 2020 Covid shut down that sent us all indoors and masked and away from one another. 

Throughout the artventure, I found myself deepening in gratitude for the West Hollywood sunshine, the gently used courtyard with all kinds of possibility and joy surrounding the offerings and opportunities at the making tables, and the chance to partner with dear friends and artists precious to me for many years. 

At the making tables, with old friends and new, natural conversation unfolded. Encouraging words were spoken. Onlookers lingered for a while, and when they couldn’t be convinced to join us at the tables, stood rapt and paying attention, I was able to make a gift of the drawing they watched me outline and offer it to them for private coloring. 

Throughout the days, as people completed their offerings, if they wanted to take them with them, they did, and if they wanted to add them to the clothesline gallery, they used the clothespins to offer their piece to what assembled as a kind of prayer flag gallery of magick markered joy. Some of the youngest artists added prices for their pieces and talked of what they’d do with the money, should their artwork sell. It was a kind of trying on of being an artist, being curated into a show, offering work, experiencing the thrill of the will it or won’t it sell, a way to value the self and the creative gift of time in sunlight with strangers spent making art on that day no one can forget when they stole the time to do the thing that gave them such happiness. 

I am glowing in the pictures–so obviously at home and fully expressed in my happiest of happy places on the earth–sharing from a bounty of what we’d been given through blick donations and our own stash of art materials brought to share.

I suppose I am always, in my way, living in that “Harold and the Purple Crayon” kind of way, knowing that Art itself is healing, that making an intention and following a line, can, indeed, help the synapses fire and the body/mind/soul system calm into a radical kind of clarity that knows its way forward, its way to resolve, its way to finish, its meaning, made meaningful to the maker no matter the inner or outer critics that might come along. 

See, again I am reminded by these perfect days out of time, Art can’t lie–Art doesn’t lie–and it belongs, first, to the hands that yield to follow the inspiration of what wants to be made through them. In these easy ways of “performing public art making” there is often no real “design” or “thought” about what wants to be made–but there is, more often than anywhere else, a kind of joy and satisfaction that travels the maker and catches the on-lookers and offers that captivating come hither to the ways of knowing inside of art making. 

It’s rare and  beautiful to see art being made–and in these settings, there’s no need for an inner critic or judge–just a sweet fall into the flow of the moment and the celebration, through personal “decoration” of a blank piece of possibility that collects the joys of the moment and makes, of them, an art of fact–a co-created masterpiece of authenticity and uniqueness that makes for raw joy and radical happiness. 

Making tables were offered at both the opening and the closing event, and at at one point during the opening, when most of the crowd was sequestered in with The Marriage of Art & Music and the concert inside the adjacent auditorium, the famous Russian painter, Kiki, in the show picked up the paintbrush, to the adoration of a small crowd of on-lookers who called out “maestro, maestro” as he, with flourish and joy and abandon, filled his brush and made his marks. 

These pieces were then gathered up with reverence, and cataloged and transported with a promise to be offered for a future fundraiser–but those moments of making–those unguarded, living moments of flow and joy and sunshine and chi–those were something life changing to witness, to enjoy, to catch a glimpse of in the ways humane human miracles are made in the mundane ways of simply following pleasure. 

It was a first meeting with Pat B. Allen, the renowned Art Therapist turned speaker and teacher, who offered that absolute truth that revolutionized my world: “Follow your pleasure, it will never lead you wrong,” and it was, just this, we did in the collaboration that made for The Art of Wellness and the enhancement of the offerings at Plummer Park when we were all, in our own ways, doing just that; Following our pleasure, finding our ways to the making tables and sharing in the wellness of the well that is our Art.

This event provided over 100 art breaks!

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