The Role of Artists (and Others) in a Crisis

Following up on yesterday’s post about the map that helps you visualize the Gulf oil spill as if it were in your own town, I am still thinking about how much we are all influenced by things that strike close to home, and thus how much sway artists have if they can help us see things with empathy and greater familiarity.

I wrapped up the post yesterday thinking about that, and I’ve been struck with a great story about how an 11-year-old girl has joined the likes of Barack Obama, BP executives and Kevin Costner in trying to address the oil spill crisis.  You should read this story in the New York Times for yourself but the gist of it is that she (Olivia Bouler of Islip, NY) wrote to the National Audubon Society saying “11 years old and willing to help,” offering her services as an artist who draws birds.  500 of them have sold (and limited edition prints are being made) and AOL has given her a site to host her work, and their donations and others’ donations have brought in more than $70,000.

Certainly her talent has garnered financial donations, but she is also sharing a love of birds and reminding us that “if insects died out, life on earth would cease to exist, but if humans died out, everything would flourish.”

Not only is this girl using the talents she has for good with a particular generosity of spirit and prolific hand, but she is inspiring others — no doubt — to think about what they might be able to offer in a crisis.

What can I do?  What can you do?

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~ by Cary on June 18, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Role of Artists (and Others) in a Crisis”

  1. […] reason I’m writing about this is because artists have power.  I wrote last week about the 10-year-old artist helping to save the birds of the Gulf. Artists of all sorts have the ability to get us to care about things, to think about […]

  2. […] reason I’m writing about this is because artists have power.  I wrote last week about the 10-year-old artist helping to save the birds of the Gulf. Artists of all sorts have the ability to get us to care about things, to think about […]

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