Maya Angelou + The Importance of Artists + Festivals
According to Maya Angelou, author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, “When members of a society wish to secure that society’s rich heritage, they cherish their arts and respect their artists. The esteem with which we regard the multiple cultures offered in our country enhances our possibilities for healthy survival and continued social development.” (See more quotes from Maya Angelou).
As we seek environmental justice and social justice, we would be wise to heed Maya Angelou’s advice. Artists provide us with vision, bring us vitality, show us the truth, provide a mirror and a window for our souls. We must encourage and support a diversity of artistic voices as these voices will help us hear and see the solutions.
The “new” festivals that are blossoming worldwide like Burning Man and Lucidity, or how festivals like Coachella are evolving shows how the arts can allow us to celebrate, teach us how to live, and raise our consciousness, create new communities of people empowered and invigorated about engaging in the challenging issues we face today as we seek to heal our planet and to develop a more just society.
This is also what we are trying to accomplish at Ventura College’s Earth Day with musician/speakers like Alice Bag, Tony Fletcher, Linda Ravenswood of the RavenswoodJones, and Abel Garcia who will be speaking about how music is transformative, and through the transformation, how we can be change agents in creating a more just world. Poets and other performers like Mary Kay Rummel, Pat Payne, Sharon Gorsch, and F. Albert Salinas will be doing environmentally themed works that raise awareness and appreciation, plus research presented by students to encourage us all to take action. The City of Ventura and other local groups will offer interactive displays and activities to encourage us and inspire us to be more gentle to the planet while living full and creative lives.
Lucidity, for example, offers stages with entertainment like a typical music festival, but there are also lots of speakers and workshops going on all over the festival site.
“When we become lucid in our dreams,” they state on their website, “we realize ourselves as infinite potential, we let go of fear, and we are free to create that which we want to see in the world. Bring those visions, those possibilities, and that delicious conscious energy with you to Lucidity and wake up in the dream.”
A major community at Lucidity is the Family Garden where I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering in preparation of this year’s festival. The Family Garden offers a DJ booth for kids, workshops, arts, stages, and more. Here’s a few pictures from yesterday’s fun fabrication activities. Images include the head and claws of a dragon that will be “living” in a tree at the Live Oak festival grounds –with its tail wrapped around the tree trunk!
PS Today is Maya Angelou’s birthday!
Happy Birthday Maya Angelou!