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THE NEXT STEP (The Last Chapter of the Booklet)

What’s our next step?  I’ve talked about research and investigation, but not specified what kind.  What constitutes good research? 

Let’s first agree it requires some work – on our part.  And let’s also agree if we’re not willing to invest some time to do this work, we’re really right back where we started.

So if this interests you, let’s get started …

Let’s share our stories on a site.

An “Art Appreciation” site …

But this doesn’t capture the type of “art appreciation” we’ve been talking about.  “Art Appreciation” classes abound – but they’ve not affected us.

This is a “New Type of Art Appreciation” … a RENAISSANCE!



You may be hesitant.  I understand.  “How will I know if I’ve done the research necessary to appreciate what’s really going on?”

You’ll know.

Because you’ll be honest with yourself.

You’ll have done the work – yourself.

But let me offer a test I’ve found works for me, not just in art, but in many things.

Let me explain it first with this story:  the Santa Fe Trail came through our city.  You do your own research to determine what that meant – to go across country by wagon.  On that same path, in our town, years later was the remarkable story of an interurban railroad connecting our town with Kansas City.

The same set of tracks is now used by the BNSF to deliver goods from Long Beach to Chicago.

So one day a while back, I went to a spot where all this took place.  I, of course, had driven over these railroad tracks many times – never giving it a second thought.

Now, I was there, armed, intellectually.  The literal history of the USA was right beneath my feet.

I felt it.

I took a railroad spike that was in the rocks aside the rail.  It’s in my car right now.  If you saw that spike in my car, you’d think it was junk.  I know better.  I’d tell you the story.  Hopefully, you’d want to go get your own spike, or snap a picture of the series of tracks.  Maybe you’d simply like to be there!

You’ll know.

If you’ve done the research prior to seeing the piece of art, when you’re approaching that piece, you will literally feel a deep level of respect.  Or you might feel anger, if you dislike the painting and / or painter!

Your collective set of emotions, driven by the research, will tell you if you’ve done your homework.

If you feel nothing, take that as a hint you need to go back.  That’s OK!  Learn more!

And write up what it is you’ve found.  It doesn’t have to be much.  And it can be a lot.  Add to it when you’ve found more!

Not just us – but our kids.

Reading?  Writing?  Arithmetic?  We’re told these are the 3 R’s crucial to education.  How about, as Alexandra York suggests, a fourth “R” in education – ART? 

Let’s involve our kids in our project.  In fact, that’s make them the focal point!

I propose the following:  I’ve got two kids, aged 13 and 11.  I’ll work with them on 2 paintings or sculptures a month over the summer.  Imagine enlisting 18 other kids.  20 kids total.  6 pieces of art apiece.  120 total.  All available to all. 

And we close out the summer with a show – each kid choosing their favorite piece, and giving a brief presentation.