Art, music, beauty, nature, storytelling are all vehicles that connect us to compassion by opening our hearts. When our hearts are open, barriers are down and we can connect to the goodness of our essential nature. With hearts open, it is easier to engage in difficult conversations and easier to experience empathy. Noelle Lawton and her team at Twin Rivers Council for the Arts have a new saying that embodies this understanding.
Noelle shares, "My conversations with Mary Ann around the idea of building a Compassionate Community in Mankato has opened my eyes to whole new way of seeing and experiencing end of life, and also how this experience touches all areas of life. Art is just one facet that can impact our communities for good. After one of our exploratory conversations, we settled on a phrase that encompassed everything we were discussing “Art is the gateway to a compassionate community.” We felt so strongly about spreading this message that we had a local artist, Lisa Bierer paint the phrase above the entry way to the Emy Frentz gallery. Art has a way of quieting our minds and opening our hearts to hear something new and experience empathy. It offers a soft approach to dealing with tough subjects or hard to have conversations. In its most powerful form, art is a collective experience that transports the audience and opens our understanding to each other and our own unique journey. Whether its through song, writing, dance or theatre – art is the entry point to connecting more deeply with ourselves and one another."
What do you think? Is art the gateway to a compassionate community? We'd love to hear from you. Thanks.