Once again, I am asking that age-old question, “What is art?” Ask 10 people and you will get 10 answers. After much time and exposure, I have come to this definition: Art is anything a person expresses in a creative way that provokes thought. So, when I saw the driftwood and rocks in front of Kat’s Korner (formally Not Just Art), I knew it was art. It certainly provoked thought and each piece of wood, each rock was intentionally placed and I found myself asking, “What was the artist trying to say?” So, I asked her.
Carolyn Campbell, a self-described multi-media artist is new to our town. Since 2016, she has been on a project, called “Looking for America Today.” Since the election, seeing the divergent attitudes, she has been sent, was invited or stumbled upon mostly rural towns, seeking ways to bridge the growing divide. She was drawn to Port Orford by that same creative energy so many of us have felt and fell in love with the place—a place that bridges class, gender, age, and ideology.
With her motivation to create “beauty out of nothing,” she found rocks and driftwood here to create intimate moments, “blessings of life from castaways, blessings of difference, not hatred.” She sought to find balance, provoke thought, cause people to slow down, “look closer and let imagination overcome the oft overwhelming and imposing realities of life.” Her hope is that people can come together and possibly start a conversation, to build trust and get along. This garden seems so important right now.
Each time I walk by, I see something new. I love the hearts, imploring us to be kind and love one another. And one of the first things that caught my attention were the snakes (dried kelp). They made me smile for their whimsy, even though I hate snakes. I mentioned it to Carolyn, and she said they seem to be what catches everyone’s eye. When I asked why she thought that was, she said, “I’m thinking … snakes are our fear place. They sure are mine. Then, the mind can’t help but wander into the other landscapes. Life in balance. Life off balance. ‘How does this all keep standing?’ Almost everyone asks, ‘Is it glued?’ It’s kind of like life. We want the glue to hold us secure. The glue is gone. We now must find a new place of balance. It’s kind of a cool place to be, if we don’t let fear run our life.”
Wood and rocks of all different shapes, sizes and colors, in numerous groupings, both individually and interfacing between groups, as a unified whole. It all works. Within this garden, we see what we hope for “America Today,” diversity embraced. . .with respect and trust for each other. UNITED, not divided.
Stop by and experience this covid-friendly, free art show. Just be prepared to be wowed.