Public art brings joyJun 08, 2022
Bella Vista in Bloom is for Bella Vista, and it is about Bella Vista. We love our flowers, we love our butterflies and bees, and many of us love being grannies. This public art installation is a way to bring those diverse elements together in a way that spreads joy and appreciation.
And yet there is so much more.
Bella Vista in Bloom invites our community to create together. Buoyed by needleworkers in crochet, knitting, and weaving, the pieces created and assembled represent the diversity and skills of our neighborhood friends. Every contributor added their own unique touch to the pieces on display.
Engaging in our creativity is joy in action. (BTW, If you are one of those who believe you are not creative, then I invite you to read this!)
Why make art together?
Collective creativity not only releases the expression of the contributors, ultimately it serves the common good in two important ways.
First, it allows us to contribute.
When we donate yarn or other materials, when we make whimsical items with that yarn, or when we stand at the fence and attach them in the hot sun, we are contributing. We are giving what we have and doing what we can do.
Finding a way to give back, to volunteer, or to help another person fulfills one of the deepest needs of being a human. Nothing is more powerful. Helping each other is how humanity survived through the millennia.
Contribution defines who we are as humans.
Why this matters
The second element is often overlooked but is vitally important: Public art brings joy to the heart of the observer, and that joy impacts the common good.
When we experience delight at the whimsy of the pieces, admiration of the skills, and appreciation of the colors, it puts us in an elevated emotional state that feeds our brain endorphins and feel-good chemicals.
Enjoying art lifts our spirits.
Einstein famously said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them.”
Our world is facing a myriad of significant challenges magnified by the extreme echo chambers of public discourse. Conservative media incites anger and liberal media incites fear.
Current brain research shows that both of those emotional states tamp down IQ and suppress innovation.
State is everything!
When we react from those negative emotional states, nothing really changes. Even though it makes us temporarily feel better, rarely do actionable ideas emerge from spewing discontent.
Like the steam kettle whistling on the stove, we are merely venting. Fear and anger will always keep us stuck in the same levels of thinking that got us here.
As Einstein suggests, to solve significant problems, we must approach them from a different level of thinking.
Public art, through whimsy, beauty, heartfelt appreciation, and especially contribution, allows us to rise above those negative emotional states and step into joy. The release of endorphins and helpful brain chemicals invites our brain to function differently.
When we are in awe, we make better decisions.
Raising spirits serves the community
Bella Vista in Bloom is so much more than a “yarn bomb.” It is an invitation to step into a different way of thinking. The possibilities arising from this heightened emotional state can open the door to making the needed changes to our significant problems.
Will this one art installation solve our global, regional and local crises? Probably not.
But every person who engages with Bella Vista in Bloom and feels differently afterward will eventually add to our collective positive momentum. Like the young girl picking up beached starfish and flinging them into the sea, we helped that one.
You might say that contributing to and engaging with public art could change the world. Let’s do more and find out!