It never ceases to amaze me what artistic talent we have in the ranks of CSM. There are many lights hidden under many bushels! But it is also a common frustration of many folks that their political and artistic lives are sadly separate. This makes no sense at all, so we thought we should do something about it. Politics after all is crying out for new creative methods of engagement, to get beyond the dry personality-sapping battery-hen treatment of many new political recruits.
I have always been inspired by the words of Jim Wallis. To paraphrase him slightly, “Find a need in the world, then find out what you’re good at. Where those two things meet – that’s what you should spend your life doing.” I know too many folks for whom the noble task of meeting huge need has prevented them from fully exploring their creative selves. But I also know plenty of people for whom a focus on perfecting their art and the circus that often comes with it has led to a lack of meaningful engagement with the problems of the world.
To this end we are setting up a CSM ARTISTS group. There will be a space on the website for folks to share their poetry, painting, songs, video etc, and hopefully some opportunities to meet up and create some things together. So whether you are a Morris dancer, cartoonist, flautist, singer, animator, sculptor, or head-banger, CSM ARTS wants you! We will hopefully be able to encourage each other to be more active in communicating our passions and values through our art.
History is strewn with examples of art making an impact on the public consciousness that otherwise would not have happened. I was reminded of this as I was enjoying a Guinness in an Irish pub in Texas a few years ago. I had been pondering about my life, and I happened to flip over my beer mat. On it were written the words, “Music can do 1000 things that words alone cannot”.
I firmly believe the lobbying of the 21st century will be lobbying of the heart as well as the mind. The moments when I see politicians really grab hold of an issue and run with it are often moments where their heart and emotions have been engaged. Yes of course we will continue to provide analysis, research and statistics to make our case, but the arts have the ability to sneak things through the back door of our minds and hearts. And the hope inspired may linger just a little longer than the statistics from page 124 of the report.
We are doing this at a time when the “Arts for Labour” group is being rekindled, so there will be opportunities to share work with a wider network aswell. Messages carried by art tend to get spread a lot faster around the web too. Let's hope we'll be producing some of those.
For those who are interested, please email me - firstname.lastname@example.org
p.s. there could be no better way to get started than to do something creative around the themes of our new campaign - "PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS". So please feel free to send us your photos, poems, songs, or operettas on that theme!