Art: Expression with a Purpose

(system) #1

By Sharon Fujimoto-Johnson

Katherine Dreier: "The function of art is to free the spirit of man and to invigorate and enlarge his vision."

Marc Chagall: "Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing." Here's a quick look at ways in which art is being used to make a positive difference: Art for the World, associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information, strives to create a bridge between art and society. Its mission is to "create, through the universal language of art a meaningful and enduring dialogue among diverse peoples, cultures, and world views in order to encourage tolerance and solidarity and to foster education as a human right." One of Art for Humanity's projects is to provide art supplies to artists in Honduras and facilitate the sale of their art in the U.S.

Art Without Borders focuses on "helping artists transcend their own self imposed borders or actual geographic borders, economic barriers and allow the rest of us outside these 'borders" to see a different perspective of our world." Recent activities include a traveling exhibit of "New Orleans Artists in Exile."In Jacksonville, Florida, artist Daniel Wynn was one of six local artists to receive a grant that will allow them to transform a neglected neighborhood park into an "art oasis." The "Call for Peace" Flickr group invite members to post photos that represent message of peace. Other Flickr groups of interest include "Humanitarian Aid," which defines itself as "a clearinghouse for aid/relief workers to share their experiences through photographic expression," and Global Poverty, in which members post photos of poverty around the world. Celebrating Peace aims to enrich the lives of children through the pursuit of peace. It includes an online gallery for children's artwork on peace, as well as ideas on encouraging children to care about peace. The Origami Peace Tree was started in Russia to connect people around the world in friendship and to promote a peaceful world through the art of origami. Around 1,500 participants from 53 countries have participated in the Peace Tree Festivals.

Art with a purpose allows us to face the sometimes troubling reality of our world, to open our eyes to new and challenging perspectives, and to engage in envisioning change for the better. As such, I think it goes hand-in-hand with progressive faith.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at