“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” ~Aristotle

From Paleolithic cave paintings onward, making art has been universally important to human beings. We find evidence of art in every culture everywhere, at every point in time. If, as anthropologist Ellen Dissanayake suggests, we “step outside our Western-oriented paradigm of art as something rare and elite,” we see that art is about “making special.” Fundamentally vital social activities, our ancestors invested significant human capital in the arts. While art as a leisurely pursuit is a more recent development, group ceremony and celebration—which could not exist if the arts were removed—have ensured our survival for as long as we have been human. In real ways, such as suppressing damaging brain chemicals like cortisol and releasing endorphins to strengthen and lengthen our lives, fostering collaboration and cooperation, giving individuals a sense of identity and belonging, establishing trust and reciprocity, uniting through joys and sorrows, documenting the realities of life throughout the ages.

“The separation of art from life is peculiar to modern (“advanced”) societies. Still, there’s no denying it: ‘making special,’ whether in visual endeavors, singing, cooking, or dressing is still a fundamental human need. As they embrace immemorial themes of work, cooperation, friendship, exchange, heroism, memory of a lost past, life change, myth and cosmology, and the abidingness of the natural world, the arts speak to our better nature and affirm our deeper and higher selves. The arts not only acknowledge the things we care about but allow us to celebrate that caring.”
~ Ellen Dissanayake

Celebrate!—As we emerge together from winter’s hibernation to find a season of warm weather celebrations including Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and more ahead, Art Presence Art Center enters summer with a show to celebrate them all! Come to the gallery and see how creativity celebrates life and good times together with lively, lighthearted, and perhaps sentimental artworks in our Celebrate! show, June 3 through July 31. Celebrate the beginning of summer with the artists of Art Presence at our reception on Saturday, June 11 from noon-3:00pm.

Art Presence Offsite Exhibits

Pioneer Village: “A Retrospective”—Our final exhibition of paintings by Elaine Witteveen at Pioneer Village continues through August 19.

Jacksonville Library, Naversen Room: “Photos and Sketches and Apps” Nancy Bardos—This exhibit of works by photographer and iPhoneographer Nancy Bardos at the Jacksonville Library continues through August 10. Nancy’s images, processed with a myriad of iPhone apps, reveal a unique and colorful way of seeing the world around us, and might give us a glimpse of her recent journey to Cuba, too!

Medford Library: “Egyptian Mythology” by Zoe West —Zoe West’s exhibit of artwork, rendered in the stylistic form of ancient Egyptian culture, continues through August. Zoe’s colorful interpretations are the vehicle for visual commentary on modern life and a fair dose of humor so her observations help us to laugh at ourselves.

What’s Happening Upstairs?—Figure Drawing Hiatus: Our Monday afternoon life drawing studio is taking a “sabbatical” for the summer and will resume in September.

Reserve our upstairs room for your class, workshop or meeting! Contact Anne Brooke at 541-941-7057.

Featured image is “Contemplation” by Eva Thiemann.