Sunday, April 15, 2012

More on renewal: Artist Dates

Not long after it was published, I read The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron.


I confess, I did only about eight of the twelve week course, but I got a lot out of those eight weeks. One of the basic tools Cameron recommends is a weekly Artist Date:
An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers. You do not take anyone on this artist date but you and your inner artist, a.k.a. your creative child. That means no lovers, friends, spouses, children--no taggers-on of any stripe.
Sometimes I break the rules and take Artist Dates with friends and/or for a shorter amount of time. It's a great way to renew my creative spirit. I don't do it with a goal in mind, say, to find a specific story, but I do it to remind myself of beauty in the world.

One of my favorite Artist Dates is visiting the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Last summer, I treated myself to a membership at the Nelson. There is no admission fee at the museum, but a membership gives me free tickets to special exhibits and lectures, and free parking. I live about 20 minutes away, so I can (and do) just stop in for a brief visit. I don't have to plan the whole day for a museum trip, as I felt I did when I lived in Lawrence.

Yesterday a friend came to town so we went to see the new exhibit at the Nelson. I'm definitely going back--it's the kind of show that deserves several visits. The exhibit is of functional art, beautiful and useful pieces from earlier times.

While we were in the museum, we also saw the Bill Viola video installation, 'The Raft," a thoughtful and thought-provoking look at isolation and connection. I found a clip of it on Youtube, but it doesn't do the full piece justice (the clip is about half the length of the total). If you get a chance to see this, do!

We went up to see the statue of Kuan Yin, then meandered down through the gift shop before leaving, refreshed.

How do you renew your creativity?

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