7.29.2011

Making good

I had a conversation with a friend recently about how to make good things more accessible to people - all kinds of people, not just the kind of people that have the resources for "good things."  I make art that is only available to those I know or those that have the resources to see, enjoy, and purchase.  I also make pastries - a luxury inaccessible to most of the world, available to those who can afford to enjoy a croissant or a piece of cake that is far from our daily essential nutrients.  These are, in reality, non-essentials.  I'm not saying we can't or shouldn't enjoy art or pastries.  I think these "luxuries" were created for us to enjoy.  The Artist who imagined and formed the universe and everything in it, desires His little artists to in turn, create, imagine, and take great joy.  But in my quest for a more just and verdant world, I am disheartened by how limited we are by knowledge, space, time, and chiefly, resources.  

I like to use cleaning and healthcare products that are made without chemicals, fragrances, or other harmful toxins.  But these products cost more, and therefore, are available only to those who can afford them.  When possible, I also like to eat fresh, local and organic produce, which not only takes more resources, but it also requires neighborhood accessibility.  I can visit my local farmers market, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe's and for a couple extra dollars find an apple that meets my standards.  But not more then two miles from my house is the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, where there are no grocery stores and no farmers markets.  If the people of Austin want more than what the corner store can offer, they have to make there way to my neighborhood's grocery store. This is only the beginning.  How do we begin to make things like good art, environmentally friendly transport, a college education or fair trade clothing accessible? If I, a white, middle-class, working, American woman, am limited by my resources to participate in such "good" movements, how much further are those in the underprivileged communities of Chicago and around the world from being able to access and enjoy things in there best and most wholesome state?

I get excited about things like "Fresh Moves," a mobile produce market bringing fresh produce to food deserts in Chicago (food deserts are communities with severely limited access to fresh fruit and veggies, like Austin).  And I love the conversations I'm hearing from other artists about making art that is sustainable, street-friendly, and approachable - art for everyone.

In a world created by an Artist who daydreamed the blue waters and the expanse of the sky into being, a world full of other young artists and dreamers who live in between the two blues, perhaps we might create something we have never imagined before and somehow, make the good even better.

2 comments:

  1. I love this vision, it's so beautiful. I think about it as well. I think a lot of it has to do with opportunity. Like your "Fresh Moves" example, that market is giving people within food deserts an opportunity to buy the fruit.
    One that I have thought of a lot is providing potable water to people in 3rd world countries. This stops people from getting sick, saves them money otherwise spent on medicines, saves them time to fetch water, and other such things, which then gives them opportunities to place that time and money elsewhere, say, their child's education, or a more efficient tool for their farm which would otherwise have been unaffordable.

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  2. Thanks, Mosi. Agreed on all accounts. Clean water seems like such a no-brainer, something we don't think much about in our own lives, but look at all the opportunities access to clean water would open up for the world! It seems so simple. Thanks for your thoughts.

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