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Artistic vision needs exercise

According to its website calendar, Jamestown Public Schools will be out for the summer in 10 days. Now is the time to enroll the kiddos and yourself in summer art classes. Nope, art is not for children only, nor is creativity limited to young people. Self-expression is a necessity of life, which, like your muscles, needs exercise. Creativity needs a push now and again to stimulate growth. Warm weather brings out the need to get sunshine and fresh air for the body. The brain also needs to be cleared of debris and opened to new ideas.

While yoga and walking are modern recommendations for staying physically fit, the brain needs a tune up too. Puzzles are recommended as are board games that require complex thought. But getting “lost” in an activity that gives you a product when you’re finished is a wonderful means of giving that brain a workout. Learning to paint, sculpt, draw or any of the complicated “process” arts, such as printmaking and pottery are wonderful ways to give your brain a new challenge.

If you like woodworking, welding, building furniture or creating objects - try it. Woodcarving falls within “creative exercise.” There’s even a woodcarving group that meets at the downtown Arts Center on Thursday evenings. It’s a great way to get out, get started and meet some folks who share your love of wood. You’re never too young or too old or the wrong gender for anything creative. Even very young children can learn how fine woodworking is done by watching and helping a master carpenter. Some creative endeavors are more craft while other areas (such as drawing from life) are more fine arts expression.

Some people look at artists as weird or strange. They cut off their ears, grow long, funny moustaches, dye their hair blue or wear clothes that are shocking. Not all do that. Gifted or creative minds simply see things then make them happen.

Again, think woodcraft. George Nakashima was a wood-crafting genius. He used simple hand tools and created some of the most important midcentury furniture pieces crafted anywhere. But art is not just visual. Art is “the idea., ” and some artistic ideas are heard, danced, written, acted, and invented. Not all fine arts fit into “visual.”

Musicians hear sounds: instruments or notes and write it, play it, or sing it. Dancers feel their bodies move through a space and instinctively know how it would look to a viewer.

The same goes with actors or writers.  The term “visionary” is used to describe people who think about a problem, solve it using their inherent  gift of critical thinking, and they lay out the solution in a manner that can be used to make the solution happen.

Visual artists have used that perception-skill since time began. Some of the final results may be called an  “invention,” while other work is deemed “art.”

Signing up for an art class may be the catalyst for starting that dream adventure, and a class is all that’s needed to get started. It might be a class in carving, or painting, stained glass or clay. All are available at the Arts Center, in classes, during summer season.

If times don’t suit o there, look at a church group, at the University of Jamestown,  or Valley City State University, to sign up for classes. That stimulus to get back into an art medium may be the link to good physical and mental health you or a family member has been seeking. Art is good for both the body and soul.

If anyone has an item for this column, please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND, 58402-1559.