Finding Hope Through Art

Over the last few weeks, the world has been especially ravaged by earthquakes, landslides, floods, fires, hurricanes, war and political unrest. It can be difficult to watch the devastation faced by millions without knowing quite how to help. I can pray, provide monetary support, and help students with their fundraising efforts, but really, in many ways, I feel helpless.

Yet it is important to find ways to remain hopeful in today’s world climate and to help our students do the same. I take comfort in art.

Artists can take difficult situations and create beauty, provoke thought, construct meaning, make us laugh, and challenge our norms.

Don McLean wrote American Pie about the 1959 plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. New Yorkers created a Tribute in Light: twin beams of light reaching up to 4 miles in the sky as a commemorative art installation to 9/11. Margriet Ruurs and Nizar Ali Badr collaborated to create a stunning picture book, Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey, about a Syrian family.  And, I’ve especially appreciated (and found comfort in) SNL over the last seven or eight months.

Each of these examples has the power to uplift and provide hope. Providing our students with opportunity to both experience and create art is life-giving. George Bernard Shaw was right: “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” 

4 thoughts on Finding Hope Through Art

  1. This really speaks to me. I love art and I have always found comfort in doing any type of artistic thing, whether it be music, drawing, or dance. I believe that you have the right mindset about allowing our students to discover their feelings and how to express these emotions about anything that may be happening in their daily live through art!

  2. Yes, this feeling of hopelessness has seemed to be pervasive, more so this year than any other that I’ve felt in a long while. I would completely agree with you that it is through these difficult situations we experience that allows people to create artistic pieces that provide hope. It’s almost as though these pieces become our “monument” in remembrance of an event, though I must admit I’ve never looked at it as such until reading your piece. I love that artists are able to find and create the hope in their pieces that someone else may not have thought could be there after such tragedy. Your slice has given me hope today. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I love the book Stepping Stones. I also really like 14 Cows for America. That book gives you hope, and the pictures are gorgeous! I love sharing that book with someone new and seeing their reaction when they finally “get it”.

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