Poet’s Corner: A Town That Offers Itself As An Oasis of Art

Poet’s Note: Past civilizations have been judged not only by their political and military achievements, but also in many respects, by the lasting beauty of its art.{{more}} Maybe the reason for that being that art keeps well and always has a way of surviving even in the most turbulent of times. Age after age, we see remnants that have made it through pretty much okay. And even ones with a lost arm or head still are worthy to stand proudly displayed on museum podiums. Orange is a town that understands the value of not only art, but also its artists. In its historical architecture, present-day buildings, art clubs, school curricula, youth programs, galleries, art councils, library and Town Hall exhibits…there is much to savor. But it’s really not an option. It is a necessary gift that needs be passed on to everyone present and future. And to a certain extent… it will be an essential part of how we are passed on too.

Why does creating art hold us captive? Starting as some fine, distant inner whisper that beckons like the sweet, soft echoes of a muse’s call…we succumb. Tenderly borrowing our sensitivities, we are swept away to an undiscovered country bordering on the outskirts far beyond ourselves, into lands whose perimeters have no end, but simply implore us to surrender and receive soul’s work.

Thus we create. In the waterfalls of imagination and trickles of verse, in things ethereal, each in its own way moves us graciously in allowance of what gifts are to be shared freely. The call is like the wind… knowing not from where is has come, but standing deeply rooted in its effect. It is passion having its way with us, holding us in its grip of creativities- to listen, to hear, to record what we now see in mind’s eye.

In the town’s offerings, we flow in the essence of life’s art themes… writing madly in the rush of the mind’s glossary of thoughts held captive; swaying obediently to the watercolor strokes of our brushes of a storm’s wash of battered ship harbors with attention fixed upon the essence of our subject. And like a love affair within inspiration’s crest, we are blended, as in a painted mural, into the unseen galleries before our eyes that capture with fervent zeal the decisive moment -whose very nature and beauty transcend our ideas and leaves us helpless but for the sigh of “aha”. There is much afoot here in Orange…designing in classes of computer graphics that measure our foresight and allow for us an infinity of options; relaxing in the shared pleasures of a studio’s informal art sessions where art meets life; providing our children a grand library exhibit where their hallowed creations, from baby animals to blasts of a sunrise touch us deeply with their innocence; creating in cold plaster our own images of Grecian gods, falling in love with themselves in reflected pools of water; dancing so freely in a multitude of classes unfettered, we lose our sense of time itself and melt into the overwhelming grace of a simple flowing spirit- as ghosts enraptured in the tunnels of grand museums, never to return again; in the still small voice of rest caressing us as we sit quietly upon our floor mats; through immersing our minds and emotions in the power of words created for a Theatre troupe’s stage- defining moments of the tales of humanities’ triumphs and foils, of the abuse of power and tragedies of ill-fated love, of the precious gift of living another day…like secrets of truth to be revealed as in Marlowe’s mighty line.

It is a town whose art offerings reunites us with our true selves, returning to the path of living who we really are…artist and art – a communion of old friends meeting for the first time having come upon each other in the wisp of an idea, a nudge from Monet, a blink of an eye in clear view of a Renoir. It is a knowing within, things eternal that implore us like a runaway train, saying.. here I am- draw me, paint me, sit on your mat and be still with me, go out on stage and break a leg.

As like so many before us, we as artists transcend the millenniums, becoming spirits crossing through ancient times traversing history’s whole grand scale like souls of sweet surrender, passing through realms of wonder. And in doing so…we end up at the very beginning, enlightened in the knowledge of who we really are…of knowing thyself.

John Ulatowski has published many books of photographs images of nature and the Town of Orange.