• Christina Peña

The Essence of This Moment

“Take your broken heart and turn it into art.” 

There is this idea that an artist can create through anything. People believe that art heals the world. But that is only part of the equation. It is the artists that heal the masses. Art cannot be made without artists. It’s really quite that simple. 

Do you think paint just appears on a canvas? Do you think a beautiful melody just falls out of the sky? Maybe for my friend Madge. Artists spend hours perfecting their craft. Yes, you may be born with a talent but that not all it takes. We are hustlers hiding in the dark waiting for our moment to release the creation from within. Artists make the world go around. Artists are what makes you smile every day. Artists are essential.

In the last few months we have heard this word essential over and over and over again. Yet the people that are always left out of that equation are artists. We are used as a moment of pleasure. A release to your stressful day. How many times have you gone home and put on Netflix?  Or gotten lost in the words of your favorite book? How many times have you smiled because of art this week?

Today is a stressful day. There is no denying that. I am not asking you anything of you.  If you feel lost or scared today that is okay. There is no correct way to process this change that we are all going though together. I have gotten through the last few months by creating and figuring out what it means to rediscover a passion that I felt had died on March 13. 

Do you know what art means to me? It means freedom. It means passion. It means that I have a place in this world. When I make something new, I think about who will see it. Who do I want to see it? Sometimes there's no answer. Sometimes it's only for me. Sometimes it's for my mom. Or sometimes it is for a random girl I see on a zoom screen. The beautiful thing about creating art is that it can affect people in ways that you never planned. It is spontaneous. It is free. And it is filled with possibilities.

When I get to make art, I get to be myself. And I get to have fun. Don't we need a little more fun in our lives right now? Don't we need space to just be ourselves right now? I said before and I will say it again artists heal. I will stick by that until the day I die. Artists take the time to think about what you need. Artists take the time to think about what makes you laugh. We take time to figure out how to walk down a stage, so that the girl five rows back in the theater will smile. Art shouldn't be a luxury because artists are essential.

If Trump gets elected tonight, I fear that art will disappear as we know it. Not entirely but it will reshape itself into a model for the select few. That’s not what I want. At the beginning of quarantine a wise artist said to me “In 50 - 100 years, people will look back and see how we coped, fought, and  navigated the world we are currently in by the art we create.” 

So what do you want the future to see?

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