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October is art month

Art in Lincoln column
By: Paul Apfel Special to The News Messenger
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October is officially National Arts & Humanities Month, according to ArtInfo, an online destination for art news. And the president of the United States has confirmed it, issuing a proclamation calling on the people of the United States “... to join together in observing this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs to celebrate the arts and humanities in America.” But while drawing attention to the arts and humanities at the national level is a worthy endeavor, what does it all mean locally? Apparently not much. A review of Northern California art events occurring in October shows little activity in Placer County. Perhaps that’s because it’s celebrated all year. That would be the optimistic view. Or the skeptic might note that the arts organizations just forgot. Regardless, it’s useful to at least take this month and this occasion to ponder the contributions art makes to our lives. Artists challenge our perceptions and understanding of the world by stimulating our curiosity and our senses. They often press the outer reaches of our imagination and yes, that occasionally offends and shocks the sensibilities. Think Salvatore Dali or Jackson Pollack. You may not agree with the subject matter, but you can’t ignore the work. But if art is shocking, it is also entertaining, often pleasing the senses with visual images reminiscent of peace and serenity. Consider the masterpieces by Renoir, Matisse, Manet and Monet. Art informs and entertains. Author/historian David McCullough cited painting and music, along with architecture, as pure forms of history: “For some civilizations, all we have of their histories is their art.” The arguments are compelling. Yet, in our pursuit of happiness, we often disregard the message, choosing instead the passive convenience of the nearest TV set. But in so doing, we miss several opportunities to enliven and enrich our lives and those of our loved ones. A visit to the museum or art gallery can be a family affair. Bring the kids. Expose them to the something other than a video game. You can visit the Lincoln Arts and Culture Foundation’s Sixth Street gallery, stop by the downtown Umpqua Bank on Fifth Street to view the current exhibit, take your morning coffee at Mina’s Cafe in Sun City Lincoln Hills and admire the photographs depicting 36 views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and have lunch at Diana Burke’s Simple Pleasures restaurant on Fifth Street where even more artistic photos greet the diners. Travel a bit farther and browse Loomis’ High Hand Gallery on Taylor Road or the Blue Line Gallery in Old Roseville. The last Auburn Art Walk of the season runs from 6 to 9 tonight in downtown and Old Town Auburn. This will also be the opening reception for the Placer Arts 360 Juried Membership Show. Expect to see, among other treasures, the much-awarded collaborative raku vase, “Circling Fishes,” thrown by Lincoln artist Mike Daley and sculpted by artist Autumn (Linda) Moon. And at the Twelve Bridges library at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, you can see “A Practical Artist - The Art and Design of Jean Cross.” October is your month to reconsider art as part of your life. You’ll be richer for the experience. And don’t neglect the Crocker Art Museum in downtown Sacramento. The greatly expanded Crocker features more exhibit rooms and an eclectic collection of various art media. The current shows include an art potpourri ranging from modern sculpture to the baroque art of Italy and Florence. And while at the library, remember it also houses treasures for the mind as well as eye. Check out a book. Read that novel or collection of poetry. Encourage your children to do the same. Daley has two additional pieces accepted for this show. “Black and White” is a white crackled raku vase and “Circles of Bubbles” is a large raku jar with lid.