Napa 8 by Carolyn Meyer
By Kristin Bucher
I love the way different artistic fields so often become connected, reminding us that creativity doesn’t always fit into tidy categories like “painting” and “poetry” and “theater.” On the contrary, some of the most fascinating endeavors come from the combinations of different disciplines. Lately, for example, we’ve seen painters working with poets and glassmakers collaborating with potters to produce new and innovative artwork.
Not too long ago I had the good fortune to witness a particularly successful melding of art forms at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (which, by the way, is itself an artistic success). Although I’m absolutely not familiar with ballet—the occasional holiday performance of “The Nutcracker” is the only exposure I can claim—I saw a performance of “Where the Wild Things Are,” an adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s popular children’s storybook. Perhaps I was drawn to it because I’d loved the book as a child, perhaps it was the eye-catching television ads, or maybe it was my desire to experience a little more culture in my new hometown. Either way, it turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Needless to say, the audience was packed with children—especially young girls in ballet dresses, who delighted in practicing their leaps and twirls during intermission—but the adults were having just as much fun. For me the highlights were the wonderfully fanciful, colorful costumes and scenery designed by Sendak himself, which were the perfect three-dimensional realization of the book’s award-winning illustrations.
This artful evening, along with many of the featured artists in this issue, got me thinking about the fact that art, in its myriad forms, can be found all around us when we’re open to seeing it. Clark Hulings, for example, finds it in his encounters with people around the world engaged in everyday activities, making beauty “out of what others might think of as misery.” Pam Ingalls finds it in light falling on objects as ordinary as tubs and toasters. Lory Lockwood finds it in the sumptuous colors and reflective chrome of cars. Carolyn Meyer finds it in the fields of Napa Valley. Driving to work this morning, I saw it in the dense bank of gray clouds that hung pensively in the valley below the peaks of the foothills; last month I saw it in the enormous gold full moon that rose over the Arizona desert at dusk. Even in something as seemingly frivolous as costumes worn by fictional “Wild Things,” artistry is there to delight us.
Featured in May 2007