Collaborative Art - "Exchange"

We danced together for hours. All of us. Moving between lines and colors, adding our thoughts, intentions, each person weaving their stories into one, small space.

So much can happen on one canvas. A wordless dialogue that brings us back to the beginning…the beginning of us when we exuded a sense of curiosity and play…when messing up didn’t matter…when we approached life with the pure drive to create something without self-judgment. Somewhere between our childhood enthusiasm and our self-criticism in adulthood, we often lose touch with that sense of wonder. Art has a way of bringing us back…back to reveling in the mystery and excitement that comes with simply picking up a brush, mixing some colors and making a mark.

My abstract brushstrokes on the canvas that day started a journey between strangers and became the container. I can tell you from working with so many people, that usually when they are given a blank canvas, they write their names, draw schematic rainbows and sunshine, or do something safe and representational, but not on this canvas. They instead continued with my unspoken intention of letting go and playing, and it was pure magic to witness. It was like watching an energetic conversation between strangers where words were not necessary, where a primal force to create drew people to the materials, and I curated an experience that people don’t often allow themselves the time to do…

…to pick up a brush, mix some colors, make some marks, and delicately dance with the other stories left behind.

Many people thanked me that day for many different reasons…for the chance to paint, for the time they saw their child focus on one thing, for their worries to disappear, and for the chance to be part of something. Some people just said, “Thank you, I’m so glad you are here.”  

Watching this painting unfold was a beautiful reminder that we can communicate without words, we need to vent and exchange our creative energy and art has the power to connect us to each other and to ourselves.