“The job of an artist is to take those masks, the paper ones, and rip them from the walls. Behind the iPhone, photo, tunes, the leather purses and the diamond wristwatch, are people — dying, bleeding, aching, breathing, grasping, holding tight.” by Sarah Klatt
I plagiarized “For The Artists” from my friend, Sarah. See, Sarah’s an artist who performs slam poetry, and she’s at camp with me this week. I’ll tell you more about Sarah in a minute.
During weeks of preparation for camp this week, I thought a lot about the how. I thought about the mechanics of art projects. I thought about how to appeal to creative kids. I thought about how to tie-dye socks. I thought about cotton-content, supplies, and equipment. I thought about the number of yards of floss I need for friendship bracelets. I thought about quantities of paint and beads and paper.
But, as camp drew closer, I found my thoughts turning to why. Why do art at camp? What’s the deeper meaning in crafts? In short, why bother? And for whom?
There are certain kinds of kids who are drawn to art like moths to flame.
Sure — some crafts appeal across the board because the end product is so appealing. But I’m not talking about the tie-dye kids for now. I’m talking about the kids for whom art has by-products that are as necessary to them as sleep, air, water, and sunshine.
There are kids who need a break from all the noise. And camp is a noisy, noisy place. They need an acceptable place to put their heads down and focus on something other than the hard social tasks of making new friends and being outgoing. I’m an Internet Extrovert and Real Life Introvert, so I get it. I need hunker-down time every day to recharge and get my Nice on, and it’s my honor to provide it at camp for kids who need it, too.
And then there are the kids who are true artists. Kids who need art on an entirely different level. They use art as shelter. Art as expression. Art as light. Art as worship. Art as quiet. Art as a life-force. Art as communion with God and with nature.
This week, Sarah is teaching a class to our campers, and she’s using art as a medium for learning. Sarah’s also an artist in her own right. She writes and performs slam poetry.
Yeah, if you’re asking that, you’re not alone. (And if you already know, bear with me.) Sarah described a poetry slam as a combination of rap, theatre and poetry. And she shared her original work, For The Artists, with the staff at camp as an introduction to the “why” of art. Why she’s using art in her class. Why it’s important. Why it makes sense.
I wish I’d whipped out my phone in time to record Sarah’s performance for you. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and I was very moved. Sarah captured, so much better than I did above, what art means when it lives and breathes and moves inside of you.
Sarah said, “The job of an artist is to take those masks, the paper ones, and rip them from the walls. Behind the iPhone, photo, tunes, the leather purses and the diamond wristwatch, are people — dying, bleeding, aching, breathing, grasping, holding tight.”
Sarah’s graciously allowing me to post a video of the same poem (previously recorded) for you. The words are below the vid, in case you want to read in more depth.
Tomorrow, I plan to post on Art as Light… and actually follow through on my pledge to post our craft projects. (See? Day One, and I’m already Off Plan. We all knew this would happen, right?)
For now, enjoy!For The Artists by Sarah Klatt
For the Artists by Sarah Klatt Would you look Can you see With your eyes Backwards From the soul to The window To the world See an artist Me with my camera Hand with the paintbrush Mouth ready for music Photo snap moments Actors let the tears come And what for? You say art for the sake of art Art to make the mulah Ha For people who can’t live Within the Structures of Reality Taking crayons to The lines of mediocrity Hammers to break White washed cups The ones people Hold when they Wanna look cool You see us with Rose-colored glasses Cause that’s what’s on Your face You want to look At the world and Miss the pain? Go into four corners And five walls Covered in hearts They’re round and red But don’t look Too hard Or you’ll see They’re not the same Color, size or shape Some have hard marks Lines And rips Thin paper no They ain’t Those hearts are people Real and Alive They beat and Pulse The job of an artist is To take those masks The paper ones And rip them from The walls Behind the iphone, photo, tunes The leather purses and The diamond wristwatch Are people Dying, bleeding Aching, breathing, Grasping, Holding Tight That camera sits On the shoulders of the real Back into the corners Darkness that blinds Hope The hand that Holds the brush Splatters the dreams of Held up Locked down Burnt out places Those lips that dare to Voice the voiceless Speak words that Cower and fear Words of life like a Gun that shoots Water On a day a hundred And five degrees A thousand words per Picture please When you capture That face, that smile, that tear You prove to the world That we’re one And the same Storytellers called Liars Actually reveal the truth About humanity The depravity that sinks Below the news line Children born Unborn Trying to keep warm When reality smacks Politicians With the face of the
Broken There are the artists Ready to say Sing me a song and I’ll write you a story That shows there’s Beauty in broken When the lifeless Gather Like a field of bones Let me paint some Breath And we’ll breathe together