Community Inspires Art + Art Inspires Community
Art is an important element in the fabric of community and is often linked to community in ways we do not recognize.
Artist Maryann Fielder and Project Expose Yourself offer a great example of the relationship between art, the work of artists and the community. Read on to hear how community inspires art and art inspires community.
Community Inspires Art
Maryann Fielder’s current work, Walking Portland: A Series of Paintings Based on the People of Portland, is a collection inspired by her community. Maryann quietly observes people – those waiting at the bus stop or walking their dog – pondering what their story may be.
“People on the street are of interest to me. I take a picture in my mind, hold on to it, think about it, then it becomes a painting.”
Her paintings are snap-shots of a moment in time, a reflection of the people of Portland. “Wait” captures a solitary figure, bent body resting against a post waiting for something or someone to arrive. “Mobile Office” is a young urbanite, casual dress and cell phone both elements of daily life in Portland.
In her paintings of the everyday acts of ordinary individuals she is documenting the culture and story of the community.
Art Inspires Community
Maryann Fielder‘s work is currently on display as part of Project Expose Yourself, a project conceived of by Portland architect Glen Larson which lets artist show their work in vacant storefront windows.
Project Expose Yourself gives artists an opportunity to show their art and also serves to shape the public space. Offering colorful artwork, rather then empty windows, brings beauty and life to the downtown area, define the space and reflecting the culture of the city.
Recently Maryann Fielder held an Art Talk, as expected family and friends arrived, but passers-by also stopped. This event helped to build connections in the community, giving those who know one another time to visit and creating a chance for introductions between strangers.
Here we can see how art is both inspired by the community and helps to inspire community.
- Art captures the culture of the community
- Art tells the story of ordinary people
- Art shapes the public space
- Art improves business districts
- Art helps bring people together
The next time you experience art take a moment to think about how the experience connects you to the community. Are you interacting with other people? Is someone’s story being shared? Are you supporting a small business or community organization?
Once we begin to understand how important art is to our community perhaps we will be more supportive of our artists.
If you are interested in seeing Maryann Fielder’s work you can find her paintings gracing the windows of the vacant first floor of the Yeon Building on the corner of SW 5th and SW Alder in beautiful downtown Portland.