I've been celebrating the African American holiday of Kwanzaa this week and tonight is the fifth of seven principles that are celebrated. I've been burning a candle for each night as I reflect on each principle for each night of this holiday and tonight, the fifth principle is Purpose (Nia)...
Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness
I know many of the principles of this holiday are written specifically for the African American community, but I feel that many of these principles can be utilized by all of us, especially as Artists, and Purpose is an important principle to consider...
It's important to know what our purpose is in creating the work we do. If we lose sight of that purpose, then we begin to falter in our work and lose momentum. Many artists are driven by their purpose to create for others and many artists are driven by their purpose to create for themselves - both ways of working are great as long as we know why we do what we do and keep with that purpose.
I also believe that "building and developing or community...to restore our people to their traditional greatness" is an important concept to consider for many of us as Artists. During the Italian Renaissance, artists were revered and wealthy nobility were patrons to such artists as Michelangelo in support of his greatness. Sadly, there are few people who can patronize great artists today as they did during the Italian Renaissance, but I think it's time for us artists to reclaim our place of greatness in society...and hopefully create a society of patrons for ALL the arts.
One way I hope to contribute to building and developing our community is by finding ways to work with children and youth and to inspire a love of the arts, visual and performance. I hope to find a way to volunteer my skills to this end, which I think will help to build a strong community of more artists and I hope it will pave the way for the Arts to take their place of greatness in our culture once again.
What is your Purpose looking forward in 2011? What are some ways you can help to build and develop your community in your Life?