There were five of us around the table today. Two were painting, one was creating with tissue paper, one was using play-doh, and I had the colored pencils out. Sometimes it was quiet, sometimes the conversation was lively. It was a typical “Open Studio” at noon on Tuesday, open to everyone – students, faculty, staff and alum.
I find such warmth in these art making opportunities. Sometimes I have a plan, an art piece or process that I’m working on. On other days I just relax into the conversations and give myself permission to play with lines, shapes and color.
I think that we know this place of experiencing creativity in community from generations of people gathering to quilt, create gardens, paint murals, build barns and play music together.
In England, years ago, there was a time of “kitchen table art therapy” that acknowledged the therapeutic value of people gathering and making art together. And many of us have done in-home art therapy, helping families gather, literally around the kitchen table, to make art and talk. It’s harder to maintain barriers between people when art is in the room.
So even though art making can be something I do alone at home at midnight, there is a nurturing, supportive quality, a sense of camaraderie that happens in Open Studio and makes me happy. Come give it a try sometime . . .