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Making Art, Making Sanctuary

On some sunny Saturday morning we caught up over the telephone, laying out all of the places we'd been and the things we'd been doing and the work we'd hope to be doing soon. I said something to her about how I'm struggling to pursue the work that I feel is my calling. How, when I look around at the state of our nation, that I feel as though I'm failing to do my part to protest the oppressive systems and ideologies that are crushing our spirit. And she says to me, "Raising your black children to be happy and thriving is in itself an act of protest."

If you had been in the room with me, the yellow-orange light of sunrise streaking through the window, you would have noticed the way I melted into my chair, breath deepening. What I felt was the literal weight of the world fall away from my shoulders. And I thought about how we overlook all the tiny ways in which our living and loving changes the world.

Feeding your family changes the world. Making eye contact changes the world. Having the hard conversations at the dinner table changes the world. Holding your loved ones accountable for their actions changes the world. The way you offer and receive changes the world. Making your art changes the world. 

Art is a sanctuary.
— Fabeku Fantumise

So what I really want to tell you is that your art is a sanctuary. The way you dance, the way you speak with kindness and love over others is an art. The way you make strokes with the brush, mold clay, cast yarn, string together notes, deliver brilliant customer service—whatever it is that you do where you show up, illuminated, honoring your gifts—that is your art. And it is a sanctuary. 

clay bees.jpg

Here I have been, discounting the importance of Jennette and me making spaces for you to explore yourself and your art, thinking that it was frivolous and not important enough. That I am not shouting loud enough against the injustices and inequities that blanket us. But the truth is that there is room for this. There is room for the ones who sign petitions and make signs and march in the streets. There is also room for retreating, for reuniting with your truest self and your gifts and your art, so that when you are out there in the world, you are showing up full and shining.

Because we need sanctuary in order to continue to do the work of loving.

Because we need you.

And we need your art.