I am in love. I love life. I love art.
Art Within Everything – such an incredible phrase for a community-centered arts organization and it’s inaugural awards program!
Metro Arts Alliance held their annual fundraiser A Taste of Spring on Saturday night, during which this tenured arts organization launched the AWE awards – Art Within Everything. What an incredible and appropriate name for an program celebrating long-standing creative talent, influence and impact of individuals within our central Iowan community. The deep roots of cultural advocacy have long been nurtured through Metro Arts programming, and evening festivities were evidence of the rich interconnected soils here.
As a long-time advocates for integrated creativity, Silent Rivers was invited to participate by sponsoring one of the awards. But what could supporting a gala have to do with remodeling? What could it potentially mean to underwrite the honor of Creativity Champion? The answer is as complex as the rich cultural sub-soil that Metro Arts Alliance stewards locally, throughout the schools and neighborhoods. The answer is found in the layers of connections seen on Saturday night – nearly forty years of relationships that wove together a delightful narrative, one that reinforced why fostering creativity within everything is both vital and imperative, in particular the education of our children.
So we begin by looking at the importance of a name. The naming of artwork provides value by reinforcing meaning and clarifying intent; thoughtful naming should enhance individual experience, if only to capture the spirit of that which is being named. Silent Rivers has always evoked the passion and fluidity of a working art studio, a sense of collaboration embodied by merging rivers – rivers of creative inspiration.. But this collaboration extends well beyond the banks of our office and client’s homes; I have long contested that the river of creativity flows through each and every person, as inspiration and motivation, and how we apply this motivating source is diverse and unique. This river amplifies our purpose and what we each do. It starts with education and awareness.
We recognize the importance of educators and supportive programs that are dedicated to encouraging the arts. Even more importantly, we recognize the importance of promoting applied creativity within industry and throughout individual lives. Creativity nourishes our entrepreneurship and invention. It not only reinforces the seeds of inspirations from which community sprouts, but also the emotions that bind us each together and inspire us towards excellence and civility. This strengthens the fabric of community, the connectivity between makers, innovators and leaders and supports all the roles we each maintain at home, work and at large.
This opportunity to stand up as a design and construction firm, recognizing creative leadership in the metro was not only fitting it resonated deeply with our closely held convictions about aesthetics and craft. These recurrent themes are rooted in cultural soil amended by Metro Arts Alliance and my long-standing history with the organization, initially as a teaching artist in my twenties (my first income as a sculptor) and later as a board member helping with governance. Coincidentally, as a young artist teaching in public schools, one of my more memorable experiences was at arts day at Western Hills Elementary. The exuberance and joyful support for the art program was palpable, and left me with an uncanny feeling simple by contrast to the norm. Now, as a parent myself, I have come to believe that incredible things occur from committed collaboration between parents, teachers, and administrators; the results of this trifecta can be spectacular!
While excited to discover that Western Hills had been selected to receive recognition as Metro Arts Alliance’s very first creativity champion, I was not surprised.