We See You. Do You See Us?

We, sir, we are the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.
-Brandon Dixon

I've been pretty quiet on here for the past eleven days. I think mostly because my reactions to everything have been short and intense, I have started this blog every day since the election and every day I've deleted the words. Every day I've sat and stared at a blank page with that stupid line blinking, I've tried it from every angle, hurt, angry, scared, but nothing has really worked. Then today I see a video of Brandon Dixon from Hamilton respectfully letting our Vice President Elect know that he lives in a country that is diverse and beautiful because of it. I'm not going to go into how I feel about the President Elect using twitter to try to get the cast to apologize. 

I can't speak to politics, not without being reactionary and bitter, but I can speak to what it feels like to be a young artist right now who is still trying to find her voice. There's a strange sense of responsibility I feel to speak out and to try to educate myself as much as I can so I can try to make a difference. I will say this, if you walk into a concert, museum, broadway show, gallery, art school etc expecting to be only entertained you are wrong. Art does so much for the soul and one of those things is to hold a mirror up to society, and sometimes it makes you uncomfortable. That's okay. It's good to feel uncomfortable. Especially right now. Artists are not trained monkeys that you can whistle at so they sing or paint or hand you what you want. Art is meant to challenge your ideals, art is meant to challenge the artists' ideals, it is not meant to make you feel safe.

 When the artist creates they don't always feel safe, they are putting their most private thoughts out there for the world to see, it's raw and dirty and scary and intense and beautiful and freeing. Even something rehearsed and planned to the second like a broadway show or a musician's performance have different weight depending on the time it is performed and to whom it is performed. 

If you have a platform to the extent of the actors in Hamilton and you don't use it for something good what are you doing? If art isn't meant to change the minds and hearts of people why should we make it? 

I think the reality of the situation our country is in is slowly sinking in for me, and I will not be complacent. My art has always been extremely internal, drawing from only my immediate surroundings, maybe it's time for me to step out of that comfort zone and put my actions where my social media posts are. Maybe it's time to start making myself more uncomfortable. Maybe it's time to make work that reflects a little bit of a broader subject matter. That's the thing I love about creating, it's a life long education, it's hours of research for a piece that's really about you. It's years of practice trying to find a voice.

It's standing up on stage and saying hey, we're here, we see you, do you see us?

Really though, do you see us?