“Art is a passion, or it is nothing” -Robert Fry

Passion is what we chase in art and creativity. A day came when you read a novel, stood before a painting, watched someone create something beautiful, or encountered an extraordinary idea and something woke inside you. You sensed creativity’s power to enrich life with possibility and purpose. You sensed another world under the surface of the ordinary. Art shakes us by the shoulders and says: LOOK!

Embedded in art is a call to community, wholeness, and connection, mental engagement and emotional energy – in a word, passion – and not just for art, or even the making of art – but for life. Life lived passionately inspires art and art in turn inspires passion for life.

Art grounds us and it exalts us. It makes us see things we otherwise couldn’t. “This insight,” to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson*, “which expresses itself by what is called Imagination, is a very high sort of seeing.” You may have heard the phrase “seeing like an artist.” It can mean lots of things, but connecting Imagination with “a very high sort of seeing” draws attention to a way of being in the world to which many artists aspire. Our mission is to seek the sudden moment of insight, as Matisse laid out:

“The essential thing is to spring forth, to express the bolt of lightning one senses upon contact with a thing. The function of the artist is … to express the shock of an object on his nature; the shock, with the original reaction.”

Art fosters a heightened awareness that inspires deeper, more intentional living with open eyes and an open mind and heart.

“Art is not an outside and extra thing; it is a natural outcome of a state of being… the object is intense living, fulfillment; the great happiness in creation.” – Robert Henri

The more you study and learn to appreciate art – what it is, how it’s made, where it comes from – the richer your inner life and the more passionate you become. Creativity begins in feeling and seizing hold of what’s around and within us. It renews life with excitement, fascination and meaning: art insists that what the eye sees, it sees in wonder.