Reading about Art Today...NYTimes Online

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

There is a story in the NYTimes today about a Stanford MFA student who wrote a book about a prisoner's dream house. At the end of the article, the man is quoted as saying,

"Once you build something in your mind, you are free".

I agree that the arts have the absolute ability to transform the mind in a therapeutic way, and this is a perfect example of how art and design can aid those in difficult situations.

I have a friend who has been designing her dream home for as long as I have known her, and she is getting closer and closer to actually making that dream a reality. I wonder what happens when you finally achieve this sort of life long design dream? What comes next? Is it really that you live happily ever after? I wonder sometimes, when I have seen my childhood neighborhood built up with monster houses that all look like inns that could house 20 people. I have a hard time understanding how people can want to use so many resources to build these homes, while we are in such need of conserving resources, and thinking of the impact on the environment. I hope there will be a change coming that brings us back to living simply, and with a bit less of an ecological footprint. In a way, I relate to the man in his prison cell; I rent a small home that often feels small for our family of four, but I have the freedom to get out of the box, both literally and figuratively; I can take a trip to the mountains or beaches, less than an hour from my home, or I can paint large spaces and scenes in my paintings. I don't need the space of a huge home to feel free. Freedom is created in our minds. I think the prisoner speaks the truth here. What a wonderful thing to know that our minds and art/design can set us free, even in the most difficult of situations.

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