An Artist’s Role in Society

Written by Joely Rogers

A new, and hopefully, much better year has begun. One of the questions on my mind as we move into 2021 is about our role in society as creatives, which just happens to be question #2 of our Artie's Eight questions for fine artists.

“What role do you think the artist plays in society?”

I couldn’t help but draw hope and comfort from the responses we received in 2020, a tumultuous year for all of us. The artists we featured this past year span the country — from Palm Springs, California, to Nyack, New York. They span artistic mediums, too: pastels, oil paint, cut paper, digital mixed media, etc.

Equally varied are the perspectives shared on the artist’s part in civilization. Which led me to think: Why not round up all this enlightenment into one treasure trove of wisdom?

As you scroll through these seven quotes, think about which one resonates with you the most. Do you detect a common theme?

Artist as Connector

“Art transports people to a favorite memory or a feeling, and it connects people to each other. It starts conversations and relationships.”

Richard Curtner - Featured Artist

Richard Curtner, Collage Artist
Palm Springs, California
(Read the full Q&A here)

Artist as Comforter

“I’m at a stage in my life where art is a very peaceful, soothing, and comforting form of self-care … if [collectors] feel the same calmness and peace from my work as I do, then I am happy.”

Stacey M. Torres, Visual Artist
New Castle, Indiana
(Read the full Q&A here)

Artist as Influencer

“Art should inspire mindful and emotional reactions in those viewing the work. Even a negative reaction can cause one’s work to be remembered. I fume to this day about what I perceived to be a bad work of art I saw in Minneapolis in 2000. All these years later, and I am still shaking my head at the images.”

J Craig Platt, Artist
Western Montana
(Read the full Q&A here)

Artist as Observer

“I think artists have an opportunity to invite people to slow down, get closer, and take notice. We play a unique role: to bring lightness or introspection to topics that can be heavy and impersonal; to make personal or singular what feels global, immense, and collective.”

Lauren Aczon Artist

Lauren Aczon , Artist
Oakland, California
(Read the full Q&A here)

Artist as Mediator

“The arts need a renewal … Only by listening to the spiritual foundations of nature can humanity arrive at a more objective and morally compassionate orientation toward what is needed to be created for the self and for society. We have detached ourselves from nature for too long.”

Charles Andrade Art

Charles Andrade, Artist & Muralist
Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado
(Read the full Q&A here)

Artist as Interpreter

“I think artists help society process the human experience. Art has been an integral part of human history. Since before written records, we have evidence of art. Artists take what’s happening in the world and help people digest it.”

Megan Rowley Stern

Megan Rowley Stern, Mother-Artist
Provo, Utah
(Read the full Q&A here)

Artist as Inspiration

“As artists, our role is critical. Creative expression is vital to a healthy and open-minded society. Artwork inspires people, gives them hope and can touch a soul in a way that words cannot. The artist has a unique skillset to influence, inspire, and help others.”

Arties8 Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson, Abstract Oil Painter
Nyack, New York
(Read the full Q&A here)

Goodness as the Goal

The common thread I see is this: art should have a positive effect on our world. And there’s so much freedom in that imperative, because we can all contribute good in ways we’ve been gifted.

As we begin the New Year, let’s take these insights with us. Let’s look for ways to become involved in our communities and share our artistic points of view with our family, friends, community, region, and planet.

2021, here we come!