Connection: the role of the artist in the 21st century

defining your purpose Jan 22, 2021


Authentic connection

It is easy to take for granted someone’s gentle smile. How it instantly brightens your day and lightens your load. That moment when your eyes connect and you peer into each other’s soul can be magical. Providing a simple act of kindness has as great an impact on the giver as it has on the recipient. A moment of authentic connection is the tie that binds us together. It is an example of our desire to belong. 

When we are stressed or under threat (like Covid 19) we tend to rely on methods that we have used in the past to cope with our situation. One could say it’s a version of the fight/flight response. But what if that doesn’t work? What if it exacerbates our discomfort? What if we don't have adequate skills to respond? Human connection is more important now than ever. 

Music and memory….

Our memory records our lives like our own virtual reality game. We remember not only the words or images, our brain documents feelings, the environment we are in, everything we experience.  When you attach music to that moment the experience becomes tangible, albeit abstract, because music triggers our memory. 

“All we are saying…”

The music of the 1960s was used by youth to share their disillusionment and discontent. Music was the vehicle that allowed those emotions to be freely shared. Ask any baby boomer about Woodstock and they will tell you how the music is inextricably tied to the emotions of the moment. The depth of these memories and shared experiences fueled change in America (and helped end the Vietnam War).

Yet again we find ourselves at a moment in time where our connection to one another has been lost. We need a do over. We need a reboot. We need to reacquaint ourselves with our intrinsic need for belonging and find new ways to connect with one another in meaningful ways.

The noble role of the artist moving forward

Artists are in the “dreams” business. We do it every time we sit down to go to work. What we sometimes take for granted is the impact our work has on others. 

So, here is my challenge to you: 

Be responsible for the memories you help create. Know that your work is desperately needed and that there will be a place for you if you stay true to being your authentic self. The rewards will be immeasurable. And, if we are in the business of creating experiences and memories, then what better memory to cherish than knowing that, if only for a moment,  you have helped someone smile.

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