When dollars or other resources are tight we choose our priorities.
As individuals, as families, and communities, and as governments. Sometimes that means that families prioritize food over music lessons, or schools cut art programs and prioritize math.
I get it. There is only so far we can stretch.
But what is the cost of removing art and music from our lives?
These are things that give meaning to our existence.
As a child I don't know how I would have fared the left-brained reality of school without the right-brained work of creating. I wore a back brace (like this one – think Sixteen Candles) all through high school. Which, arguably, sucked.
But art? Art fulfilled me and made me feel "normal" in some way. It was an outlet for the feelings of not fitting in and for being different. Which I think all of us need – even as adults – for our own varied reasons.
I stayed after school several times a week for art club, Art Honor Society, and just to muck about in the clay and paints. It made me whole. It made the hard bearable, and gave me a different perspective on my life and the world.
I wasn't the "girl with the brace" at that moment. I was just Me. Creating.
And even now, I turn to art to complete me. Photography, sewing, painting, drawing. They calm my mind and fill my heart. It is my meditation.
But back to Viroqua.
Viroqua is a small town. A seriously small town. At 4,500 people "art mecca" comes to mind for very few. And yet, in some way we are a creative nucleus out here in the countryside.
Viroqua is home to world class musicians, performers, dancers, woodblock carvers, illustrators, and fiber artists. It is astounding to see the talent that surrounds us here.
Viroqua is also the second poorest county in Wisconsin. So the dollars to fund inspiring art is limited.
The past two years Viroqua has been home to the Viroqua Harvest Moon Celebration. I've shared my story from the first two parades (and those links are worth reading to get a good feel for this amazing community and it's parade). And tonight Pete and the kids are off to help make puppets for this year's parade.
The parade is taking things up a notch this year, hiring a staff, (remember the singing banana dad from the breastmilk story? Yup. He's one.) and paying some artists actual dollars for their work and energy. Which makes sense. (We pay the roofer, why not the musician?) And because of the size of our little community we're casting a broader net to raise the money to make this happen.
You can take a peek into Viroqua and our creative work (and we'd be so grateful if you'd kick in a few dollars) by checking out the Kickstarter campaign we have going. My wedding dress even makes a cameo under the spinning rainclouds.
This is my town, these are my friends, and this parade means so much to us.
You're all invited to our parade on October 13 (How fun it would be to meet some more of you!) and where ever you are, you're also invited to help make it happen by donating through Kickstarter. To contribute, click here and then click the green button. It only takes a few minutes, and you pay nothing if the project is not fully funded.