A Conversation With Jerry Saltz at the WNDR Museum
Kicking off his tour for a new book entitled Art is Life: Icons and Iconoclasts, Visionaries and Vigilantes, and Flashes of Hope in the Night, Jerry Saltz joined us for an evening at the WNDR Museum on November 4th. We invited teachers from our Shared Walls cohort to come and join us for this exciting discussion about art, learning, fear, and imagination.
As teachers trickled in after school, we snacked on pizza and milled around, enjoying the rotating exhibits at the cutting-edge WNDR Museum. Then, we gathered around in a circle of folding chairs to speak with Jerry Saltz about his new book.
Jerry Saltz is the people’s art critic. He generously imparts his thoughts via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for free, knocking down the price barriers that can make art criticism inaccessible to curious art lovers. He’s also the senior art critic at New York magazine.
Jerry was born in Oak Park, IL–just outside of Chicago! After attempting to break into the art world in his early 20s, Jerry Saltz worked as a truck driver until the age of 41. He describes decades of fear, imposter syndrome, and anxiety. What if he put it all out on the line writing, and he wasn’t good enough? What if no one listened?
As Jerry says in his New York Times Bestseller, How to Be An Artist, you can get started at any time. Start now. Jerry Saltz started writing seriously in his early 40s. He won first Pulitzer Prize at 67. Creation can be embarrassing or even terrifying! But, there’s nothing to do but work, try things out, fail, and learn.
Art is Power
At IPaintMyMind, we believe art is power. It opens doors and windows, empowers students from all walks of life, heals grief and trauma, and equips us to speak the truth, even when it’s costly. It’s why we do what we do, seeking to make art and arts education available to all students.
Jerry believes in the power of art as well. He sees art as a survival strategy for artists and as a way to connect us all together. Art is a subjective experience that one comes to with all of their unique knowledge, life experience, and understanding. No two people experience a work of art in the same way. Jerry believes that all art implicates and involves the viewer, connecting us to each other across time and space.
Art is For Everyone
Art is for everyone! Bad art is still art–and what is bad art anyways? All of us smartphone-camera-wielding wannabe photographers, in Jerry’s eyes, are photographers just the same. Art doesn’t belong to high culture. There are no litmus tests to pass. Artists don’t have to have gone to art school. As Jerry Saltz explains in How To Be An Artist, art “is a tool that the universe uses to become aware of itself.” It flows around us and through us, but doesn’t belong to us.
Which is why Jerry Saltz conducted his author talk as a casual conversation, encouraging us to jump in, interrupt and ask questions. It was an exciting conversation to have, especially amongst art teachers and museum curators.
If you are an artist, an art lover, or simply curious, make sure to pick up a copy of How To Be An Artist, or Jerry Saltz’s new book, Art Is Life. Remember, art is for everyone!
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