The Value of Artists in Post-Election America

Artists
(Relax It’s Only Flesh custom jackets by Alexandra Velasco)

 

Awards season is always my favorite time of the year. It’s less about the trophies and pretty dresses (I mean, yes, it’s a little about the pretty dresses), and more about the acknowledgment and celebration of artists and the work that we do in creating film, television, music, etc. For every project, there are countless people behind the scenes dedicating their talent and time to make that vision happen. I’m always so in awe of what people are capable of.

This season’s a little different. There is this heavy post-election energy looming over our country that has managed to permeate every aspect of our lives. We can’t shake it. It’s woven into our social media feeds, plastered across all of the news outlets and integrated into the writing in some of our favorite shows. It’s become stand-up material and the inspiration behind song lyrics. There seems to be no escape from the anxiety and sense of hopelessness that the majority of us are experiencing, and the hate and intolerance that others are perpetuating. I’m always so in awe of what people are capable of.

One of the few positive things that I have seen come out of what is quickly becoming a very bleak time for our nation, is an abundance of really expressive and audacious art. Artists are creating and collaborating and sharing their work with the world as an act of protest against a society that too often discourages people from having pride in who they are and what they stand for. Whether or not your art is political in nature, it’s a political act in and of itself to create something that is a declarative representation of your voice and perception of the world.

Regardless of what happens over the next four years, it’s our responsibility to keep creating, whether we’re driven by frustration and pain or gratitude and love. We have to celebrate greatness, because it’s not rare, it’s just not always recognized. We have to be willing to call bullshit when we see it, because others will have us believe that we made it up in our heads. We have to be the mirror that reflects society back at itself, because that’s the only way anyone’s every going to learn.

We artists are what shape history. All of the writers, painters, filmmakers, musicians, dancers – everyone with a podcast or a YouTube channel that has something to say and the courage to say it, you are what gives me hope.

 

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