While we eagerly await the announcement of award winners by KALEIDOSCOPE’s juror John Smittle, beyond artCentral’s galleries, everywhere I turn I am seeing—KALEIDOSCOPES—magical, mystical repeating patterns of elements and images and colors. Just this week they have appeared as delightful surprises!
Driving past Grace Episcopal Church en route to run our Aussie, I smiled to see a kaleidoscopic cascade of colors with printed exhortations reminding us to love our neighbors.
This got me happily recalling the sequences of animated scenes I saw in the “Parade Across America” aired on television on inauguration day. The degree of technical choreography was astounding as song and dance and dialogue offered scene after scene celebrating the diversity of the lives and faces and cultures composing our great nation spreading over our beautiful continent and beyond.
Watching that parade the love I felt for the kaleidoscope of our collective humanity sent chills through my body and tears down my cheeks—so much the same as those I felt while I drove a U-Haul truck through Brooklyn and New York City headed back to Arkansas to see my parents through their end times. When I paused at traffic signals and watched the crowds surge through the crosswalks, I saw the awesome richness of the melting pot of our amazing country. I felt a wondrous jubilation at being the tiniest of specks on my own journey and all the time blended into our vast greatness as I headed back to the roots of my childhood.
Recalling a childhood delight, I remember the sense of wonder that came the first time I experienced the magic of a kaleidoscope—bringing the paper cylinder to my eye, looking toward the light, rotating the tube to hear the sounds of tiny shifting inside pieces and seeing a plethora of brilliant colors mysteriously combining to create ever-changing prismatic worlds made new with every turning. While still today kaleidoscopes encourage children’s creativity and spark their imagination, adults looking into kaleidoscopes can find excellent refreshment therapy for eyes that spend many hours looking into screens on computers and phones and tablets.
Watching on those very screens I heard a kaleidoscope of spoken words delivered colorfully and crisply by a twenty-two year old National Youth Poet Laureate. Spoken word artist Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in history, stood ever so confidently before all of us and performed “The Hill We Climb”:
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept northeast,
where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sunbaked south.
The artists of southwest Missouri in all of their diversity have risen to give us an amazing KALEIDOSCOPE Exhibition and to say like Amanda Gorman…
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to see it.
if only we're brave enough to be it.
Come see JRAC’s KALEIDOSCOPE!
February 5 through March 13, 2021, Weekend Gallery Hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 12:00-5:00 p.m.
The LIVE on Facebook Opening Celebration will be Friday, February 5, 6:00-8:00 p.m.