Painting Space for Common Ground
We’ve been living in Boston for a little over a month, and suffice it to say that my contact list has not grown that much. Not that quantity and quality are of equal value, but I’ll leave it that I may or may not be constantly filling the pup’s water bowl in hopes that more frequent trips outside will beget more human interaction.
This was a good choice, because puppies are a great way to make new friends. They really are good at it and set a great example. They sniff, wag and run and that’s all there is to it. They make pals so quickly and set right off into playing--running up and down the dog run, zigging and zagging. Then they miss their new buddies when they leave and are always excited to see them in the hall or elevator. Such was the case with my new pal too--well, minus the sniffing and substitute happy dances for tail wagging.
Anyway, back to new friends--it’s good that last week we talked about messy hospitality because upon meeting a new gal pal, we quickly set off to making plans that would get our sarcastic, goofy husbands connected, and you guessed it--this involved dinner. I reasonably cleaned my home, but with all that cooking there were plenty of dirty dishes to cover the counter. But who cares, right? The joy of laughing until our sides hurt and leaving with new inside jokes is truly magical. And all this talk and experience of hospitality has really got me thinking about how art fits into the mix. It is, after all, what I do--so how could I resist.
One thing that I realized about moving is that this new apartment didn’t feel like home until all of our art and photos were up on the wall. We love picking up prints of local artists when we travel, because hanging them in our space brings joyful memories and also makes for good conversation between our guests.
It’s impossible to be in someone else’s home and ignore what the physical space is like. From the arrangement of the furniture, to the dishes on which dinner is served--each item is a glimpse into that person’s life and preferences. And these hints and cues are sure helpful for an introvert like me. They are like flags on a map to the road of common ground.
There is something special about a painting that reminds a friend of their own grandmother’s farm, or getting to share about a trip to New Orleans where that crazy rooster linocut came from, and oh--you just visited there last year? Did you try the seafood pasta at that one bar, and oh--let’s make that drink next! And somewhere along all of this conversation you’ve planned our next three dinner nights.
Hospitality and art collide in a bigger way than just the gathering of collectors for a gallery opening, or faithful fans jumping in unison while rocking out at a concert. It goes further than the congregation of artists talking about their craft, and yes, even deeper than the ability to create something new together.
The true hospitality of art is the welcoming to a new realm, the invitation to conversation and connection, and the beauty we see or hear reminds us that we belong in the same world.