Downtown Harrisonburg Artwork

In downtown Harrisonburg on the side of the Jack Brown’s restaurant, I found some art (a giant chalk board and a mural) made by Rise Harrisonburg. The mural is of a bunch of people at a cafe. The chalkboard has the words “Before I Die…” at the top and lines all over it for people to write something they want to do before they die. When I was driving past it with my older sister the one day, she saw the chalkboard and said, “Hey cool! It’s like changing art!” This gave me an idea about arts and peacebuilding in relation to art as expression and art as process. Below are some pictures of the chalkboard and mural.

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In Eastern Mennonite‘s Arts and Peacebuilding class, we talked a bit about art as expression and art as process. Art as expression is when an artist makes a piece and then sets it up for everybody to see (a painting, photograph, etc.). Art as process is when we use some sort of group or individual activity and out of it we develop something creative such as image theater (using your body to show a certain theme) or conflict poetry (check the link for a complete description). Our professor, Paulette Moore, explained these concepts by saying that art as expression is like street art and art as process is things like the image theater.

When I saw this artwork, I started trying to think about alternate ways that we can use art as a process to create practical results. In this case, the giant chalkboard can serve to create a sense of community for all who write on it or it can brighten a person’s day as they see that somebody wants to marry Rachel McAdams.

Can you think of any ways that we can use art to lead to a real result? Comment below!

-b.hench

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