Several weeks ago at the Purple Fiddle we heard a fantastic group, Zach Brock and the Magic Number. For the first half of the show we were amazed at the virtuosity, originality, and energy of their jazz. During the break we had a chance to talk to the members of the group and were struck by bassist Matt Wigdon’s comment that as a kid he wanted to be a professional baseball player, but after being introduced to the string bass in high school, playing the string bass was the only thing he wanted to do. In other words, he found what was truly meaningful and what made sense as a way to express himself. For the second half of the show we watched and listened differently to all of the musicians—Zack on violin, Fred Kennedy on drums, and Matt on bass. It wasn’t their virtuosity but their musical conversation that engaged us. Not only did they play their instruments as if they were talking to each other, they listened and took ideas from each other. It was obvious that all three of the musicians not only loved their instrument, in a sense they lived it. Player and instrument were one, and each one of them needed the other. And even though we weren’t playing, we were engaged in their conversation; we were living what they were living.
We were reminded of that experience with Zach Brock and the Magic Number the other night. I (Bruce) sat down to enjoy Robert Parker’s newest (posthumous) Spenser mystery novel, Painted Ladies. Parker’s dedication of the book to his wife, Joan, leapt off the page: “For Joan: live art.” As words to live by, his dedication reminds us in two words that art—any of the arts—and life are necessary to each other. Art is what we have to make sense of life experiences. It’s beyond thought, yet it helps us to experience through our senses what we cannot otherwise explain or apprehend.
We’ve been talking to each other about the Zach Brock evening and Robert Parker’s reminder to “live art.” We’ve been thinking about how art isn’t just for artists, or music for musicians, or dance for dancers, or poems for poets: the arts are really for everybody to find their own meaning. That led us to thinking about Tucker County, about it’s resident artists of all kinds and the people who find what they do meaningful and important and even indispensable. Further, we recalled the conversational element of the music-making at the Purple Fiddle. And that led us to this blog, which has the potential to promote a community conversation among people who “live art” in any way, by doing it, by appreciating it, by buying it, by sharing it, or by supporting it. People’s ideas and expressions spark the same in others. This blog can be a vehicle for finding out what people are thinking, what’s happening, who’s doing what, and discovering other artists. All of these things will create a stronger and larger arts community in Tucker County.
Recently, Linda Sinish responded to a blog post (Nov. 15), writing that she is new to the area, happy to find the blog, and looking forward to meeting local artists. We know that there are a lot of people out there who want to become engaged with Tucker County arts and artists. Let us hear from you. Join in. What makes sense to you? How do you live art?