That’s part of the problem with the idea that art should be reserved for the privileged elite who can afford it. Should we regard only the “high art” of the upper class as legitimate artistic expression? Or should we expand our idea of how we define meaningful art to include the art that impacts the lives of people from all walks of life?
If we narrow our vision, we might miss some of the artwork that holds incomparable value in our hearts, even if the monetary value is modest in comparison.
For example, who would imagine that the power of airbrushing could enrich and save lives? Oakland artist Ronald Allen, Jr. demonstrates this power every day. This article by my friend and fellow writer Roger Porter tells the story of Allen, the man known as Mr. Airbrush Hands. Becoming an airbrush artist saved Allen’s own life, giving him a positive alternative to the dangers of the streets of Oakland. And after 20 years of airbrushing, he knows he’s added something to the lives of others as well. His work does everything from helping grieving folks memorialize their lost ones through R.I.P. pieces to showing youth the positive power of art through his inspirational story of overcoming the obstacles before him to follow his dreams.
Now I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way about the power of art. How have you seen art change the lives of the people you see every day? I’d love to hear about it.