The Power of Art

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“The Dancer” by Betty Branch (collection of the Taubman Museum of Art & 2016 Artemis Cover)

By Jeri Rogers

While most of us are distracted by the trendy and fashionable, what really sustains, enriches and heals us are the arts and their legacy. Artists and writers are our visual story tellers creating bridges of understanding and healing.

I know this from a personal level. I was raised in southwest Texas. The art of Georgia O’Keefe, Monet, Ansel Adams, and Picasso were my early artistic influences. “Earth laughs in flowers”, Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us with his unique vision into the natural world. “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead”.

Through my own path of discovery, Photography was my choice of medium and I used the camera to open up new doors of my awareness for personal growth. As an advocate for the healing power of art, I used art and writing in my approach to life and they were the philosophy behind creating writing workshops for the clients at the Women’s Center in 1977 when I was Director.

The origin of Artemis started there and was rooted in social activism at the Women’s Center. As a counseling center for women facing problems ranging from physical abuse, housing, food stamp assistance, employment counseling, and alcoholism, writing workshops were created to help our clients work through their problems.At the center, I saw first-hand the healing power of the arts and journal writing through the workshops which enhanced the well-being of our clients. The poems, essays and art created hope and optimism that were needed to remind the women that not all is lost and there is still good in the world.

The earliest known and most celebrated journalist was Leonardo da Vinci. He was a remarkable genius who used art note booking or art journaling as a powerful tool to expand the mind and enhance creativity. Around 1508 Leonardo bound his manuscripts, by folding and sewing a stack of paper down the center. His innovative process is shared by many writers, engineers, and designers using this powerful tool to enhance thinking on paper and creativity.

Many artists have shown us their personal healing through their own expression.Frida Kahlo transcended her emotional and physical pain through her portrait painting. Henri Matisse found a second life through his art after his cancer diagnosis. Florence Nightingale, the modern nursing founder proclaimed “Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the object presented to patients are actual means of recovery:. Many experts today believe that art in a patients’s environment helps them to heal faster. According to scientific evidence, nature’s images can reduce anxiety, pain, and stress.

Our mission at Artemis is to promote and foster excellence in the arts and literature in the Blue Ridge Mountains and beyond. We believe that supporting the arts and literature enriches everyone’s lives in our community. This years featured guest writer is Ron Smith, Poet Laureate of Virginia and guest artist is Roanoke Sculptor, Betty Branch. Continuing in our tradition, Artemis 2016 is presenting a number of first-time published poets and artists, along with many distinguished published contributors.

Ron Smith is currently the appointed poet Laureate of Virginia, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a writer in our state. This recognition comes to him after many well-received publications. He is the author of “Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery”, “Moon Road”, and “Its Ghostly Workshop”.

Betty Branch, our guest artist, nurtured Artemis Journal by previously serving on our Board of Directors and she has graced many of the past Artemis Journals with her art. Her sculptures can be found throughout the Roanoke Valley-in the downtown library, at the Taubman Museum of Art, and at Hollins University. Her work has been exhibited far beyond Roanoke Valley, as well as in New York, and in beautiful Brook Green Gardens of South Carolina.

Roanoke is fortunate to have a wonderful museum, the Taubman Museum of Art and the Arts Commission of Roanoke to promote and showcase the arts in our region. Both organizations are co-sponsoring the launch and publication of the 2016 Artemis Journal.

The launch celebration of the 23rd Artemis journal will be held at the Museum on Friday, May 6th honoring our guest writer, Ron Smith and guest artist, Betty Branch. The reception begins a 6:30 pm with a wine and cheese reception followed by a Ron Smith’s talk at 7 pm. The event is free and open to the public and the Artemis Journals will be available for purchase.

“Where there is no vision, there is no hope”
George Washington Carver

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