A few thoughts for community organizers, artists and idealists.
- It is not your duty to please and appeal to everyone (or anyone) if you’re speaking from a place of honesty through art, practice, program or conversation. Honesty is the foundation of forward momentum in community. Bennington needs to practice radical honesty across the spectrum if we’re to continue growing in the same direction. Do not let complacency subjugate the momentum we’re feeling in this moment. That momentum is real, but by its very definition only flowers if we continue pushing boundaries, trying new things and living up to the capacity of our inquisitive selves. Now is not the time to play it safe.
- Honesty in art and intention is a byproduct of being honest with yourself. It is not waxing poetic to suggest that weakness only becomes strength when we’re willing to call it what it is. Do not place the burden on yourself of creating a scenario that does not allow for exploration, vulnerability and margin of error. You aren’t perfect, your business isn’t perfect and your art isn’t perfect, either. Enjoy the freedom that comes with these relieved expectations and take chances. Now is not the time to play it safe.
- “Weird” is a societal construct founded in judgment; it’s not even a real thing! “Weird” things force people to reflect on their OWN insecurities, and that reaction to call the thing “weird” is simply a reflection of the observer’s own inability to process and engage in an earnest way. Do not be afraid of doing “weird” things, making “weird” art and dressing, talking, or living in the way that makes you feel powerful, playful and whole. You should be concerned with anyone who would willingly put you into a hole, or attempt to take away your power by framing things you enjoy as “Weird.” And if they are in a position of power you need to work harder, make that voice louder, larger and more vivid until their own discomfort is silenced by the confidence of your intention. “Weird” has the power to be transformational! We don’t need more safe art, we don’t need peer review, we do not need anyone but ourselves to represent how we feel, and how our life unfolds. Bennington NEEDS “weird” now more than ever and therefore now is not the time to play it safe.
- Finally, we don’t need more advertising if your event, your art, your venture is not coming from a place of passion. Honest efforts carry a calling card with a reach that far surpasses the value of social media. We don’t need another ad campaign or facebook page reminding us of what we already have— that is simply white noise which creates division by congesting the flow of useful information. Improve upon your contributions in the physical and create new incentive for taking that work further outside the little glowing screens we hold so dear because now is not the time to play it safe.
Be good, work hard and smile more
The Bottom Left