Is art that doesn’t last worth it?

A sad day. Painting over the temporary artwork which provided the setting for our musical last weekend.

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The black quickly covered all the wonderful and vivid memories which we had recently created on that stage. With one stroke of a roller, it was gone.

It made me think: is art that doesn’t last worth it?

Locally, in Georgetown, some wonderfully inventive artists had created many different murals which had subsequently faded into oblivion.

Performance art is a one-and-done art form. Once it’s complete, it’s gone forever. Even if eventually performed again, it won’t be the same.

Were the hundreds of hours that I put into this event worth it?

Absolutely, for a couple of reasons.

1) Art leaves a lasting impression, even if the art doesn’t last. Laughter, an emotional response, a wandering thought, a smile, a quick job of the memory – art changes us, reminds us, teaches us, and entertains us. This in itself is enough justification for temporary art.

2) Art is about a journey of discovery for the artist. While art may and does affect the audience, it, perhaps, does more to the artist than anyone else. Each of the writers, composers, actors, and dancers who performed in my recent musical learned so much through the process. They learned about themselves. They learned how to persevere, how to overcome adversity, how to improve. They learned about their passions and their failings. And they walked away from the experience a changed person – some in little ways – some in big ways.

While it may seem sad to see a performance end or an artwork fade, I am confident that it has accomplished its goal. It interacted with the world around it, and the world will take that artwork with it as it continues on its journey into the future.

In that way, art never really fades at all.

 

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