Have you ever stared at an object so beautiful that you couldn’t look away? The stars in the night sky, the face of your child, the ocean at sunset.
Have you ever heard a sound so comfortable that you lost track of time? The laughter of a child, your favorite childhood song, crickets in the forest.
Have you ever felt a surface so soft that you didn’t want to let go? A child’s blanket, new pillows, a warm towel.
Have you ever smelled something so peaceful that your troubles melted away? Chocolate chip cookies, freshly cut grass, a clean bathroom.
Have you ever tasted something so savory that you found yourself lost in a memory? A home cooked pot roast, pizza, chewing gum?
All of these feelings are the result of someone’s art. Art is an expression of who we are and what we feel. I think often about the quilts that kept families warm, they were practical artistic applications. Scraps of fabric sewn together to express and evoke emotions. Trunks and cabinets were carefully crafted to hold items of significance but also serve as a lasting tribute to someone’s love.
Art is about expression. We are all artists. I’ve never met a child who doesn’t like to draw until they are told that they don’t have the skills. I’ve never met a child who doesn’t like to play pretend, until they are told that they are too old.
At its foundation, art teaches us how to understand our emotions, regulate our feelings and be part of a collective experience. Art teaches us how to work together, art teaches us how to survive in times of trouble, art teaches us the fine line between love and hate.
When you’re going through your list of projects to complete this year, I encourage you to think about completing one artistic project. The door is wide open for you to get creative. There are no limits to what you are capable of creating. As 4-H youth you have the right and responsibility to engage in self-expression in a way that builds community and connects people across conditions.
If you don’t have time to take another project, think about how art can be built into the projects you already complete, art is everywhere and waiting for your discovery.