How Your Voice Translates Across Chords and Courtyards

Twenty of us scraped chairs on shiny wooden floors then settled legs still. My paper plate sagged with food: a tangy key lime cheesecake slice with frothy whipped cream lay next to a smooth plain cheesecake piece topped with blueberry crisp. Sweet corn and pepper cowboy caviar salsa slid juices across the plate and soaked deliciously into smoky cheese and cured salami wedges.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Ken Dodds, Creative commons cc license

The musician, Dan Rumsey, snapped his harmonica into the angular metal mouth bracket around his neck, picked up one of his guitars, and stole us away. In husky rhythm and blues stanzas, Dan sketched scenes for us. Moments from the “First Day of First Grade” brought chuckles as audience-members remembered freshly-shaved pencils and awkward first moments in school lunchrooms. Each song was an impressionistic capture of a moment or feeling in time: sitting on front porch steps in quiet twilight; the inhaled scent of his daughter’s childhood blanket and the sudden hum of a basement furnace; and a purple-infused Minneapolis skyline when the city came together to mourn a Minnesota-based musician’s death.

In a few words and phrases, Dan painted fragments frozen in time, and the artist side of me was refreshed, encouraged, renewed.

Sitting in a downtown Minneapolis coffeeshop a day or two after the house concert, I am surrounded by art. Students from nearby Minneapolis College of Art and Design wander in and out of the trendy coffeeshop, their artistic natures flaring through bulging school bags, slim computer cases, and in their clothing, hair, and tattoos. Giant green oxidized metal sculptures lay heads sideways in the front lawn of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, peering out at traffic, and God’s masterful ivy crawls living canvas up brick buildings.

Whatever your Art, my friend, know that it matters. Whether through words, paint, lyrics, charcoal sketch, computer code, a job exquisitely-done, the mood of a home, a landscaped yard, or the fragrance of a bubbling broth, your artistic expression is needed.

You bring beauty, captured moments, imbued emotions, and re-purposed memories from the past. Through your art, we get to breathe in, feel it, and experience what you’ve seen. It conjures up memories and experiences from our own lives that make us say, “Ah! You too?” “Me too!” and humans connect across continents, cultures, and constructs of time. 

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  1. Linda Stoll on September 13, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    whatever your art, know that it matters.

    wow. what simple, yet powerful words, permission that many of us need to pursue exactly the path God is opening up for us.

    thanks, Jennifer …

  2. Cheryl Barker on September 14, 2016 at 5:21 am

    Love that last paragraph, Jennifer. So true. And so thankful for art's many different expressions. Hope you and yours are doing well!

  3. cabinart on September 27, 2016 at 1:45 am

    Thank you for acknowledging the importance of art, Jennifer! It made me think – is it art that matters, or is it adding beauty wherever possible? To me it is the addition of beauty. And we were all made in the image of the Creator, so that makes us all want to create something.

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