“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.”
– John F. Kennedy
President Kennedy had it right when lauding the potential power of the artist to be the visionary that we all need. Which makes it so painful when art is one of the first budget cuts for tight school budgets, and educators and parents push for learning based on repetitive testing over creativity and free time. We may never know the true cost to our culture by not recognizing the importance of the visionary mind and the artist.
Being a visionary is of course, not necessarily tied to creating art. Nor is an artist always the one producing an artistic product such as a painting, sculpture or piece of writing. The visionary mind is one that can create something that does not yet exist. A visionary mind can pull pieces of current reality together to mold a new future that none of us individually or collectively could imagine. A true visionary mind takes us fantastic places and into experiences that challenge perceptions.
A visionary mind is often captured by a stubborn and persistent personality. The visionary mind is often one that we resist for its loud, chaotic, and ambiguous process. The visionary is one that we often ignore for its annoying habit of taking us somewhere we think best left unexplored.
As Unitarian Universalists, a liberal religious voice in the American culture, what is our vision? What is your vision for UU’s? Are we artists? Are we free to follow our vision? What holds us back?