Archive for January, 2009

A Challenge to artists

January 24, 2009

It’s still inauguration week.  The shift has started.  We have a new president and a new administration coming in: President Barack Obama!

It’s a challenge to really do something right and have it stick.  It seems that those in power are taking this seriously.  There seems to be a “can do” attitude.  They seem to be “hitting the ground running.”

Then there’s the reference from an old depression era song written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields made in the inaugural address:

“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

The original song was: “So take a deep breath; Pick yourself up; Dust yourself off; Start all over again.”  Yes, face the music and dance.

It’s time for something new, maybe time for adventures.


What part artists can play in turning this nation (and this world) into better directions?  I’ve given this a lot of thought, over the years.

There’s plenty of room to grow,  plenty to repair, plenty to consider and plenty to do.

In these early days , I have two challenges which immediately come to mind:

1. As always, try to create the best work you can and to encourage and support your fellow artists.  Renaissance now!

A great resurgence of the arts would help inspire, inform, energize, enliven and  encourage our fellow humans.  I’m all about that (so to speak).

There’s much I could say, but I’ll save it for another time.

2. If we have a viable “people’s think tank”, the artists should get involved.  We may even have a vital part to play here.  We can offer different points of view and different approaches.

Every work of art faces and solves a series of problems and obstacles.  Often, the more successfully it solves or compensates for these problems, the more successful the work of art.  (Of course, there’s also an “x factor” or “wild card” involved.  The matter of what’s good art, what’s bad and what’s in-between is usually up for debate).

Some artists are experts at solving problems.  They do so in there art all the time and sometimes even in their lives.  If some of us also have a deep and complex understanding of “reality” or life as it is we may be able to come up with some good ideas.

Successfully implemented, a “people’s think tank” would be another form of volunteerism.  Try to state your observations or suggestions as best you can.  Not everyone’s a writer, but try to communicate in clear and simple language.  Try to get your main ideas across as briefly as possible.

If they have a “channel” for taking in these ideas, it could make it easier to do so.  In the mean time, there’s always postal letters and emails.

It would be great if they could have someone who goes through all the suggestions, ideas, and possible solutions to to problems.  Then they could show the best, more promising ones to the president and/or his inner circle.  It could be like panning for gold.  Let’s utilize all our resources, including ourselves.

(Maurice Greenia, Jr. / January 24, 2009)


the new White House site:

Invent! Discover! Create!

January 17, 2009



In science, politics, art and life we can do better by being creative.

I tend to live my life as an improvisation, trying to surf the dynamic flow.  My life has a life of its own.  There are always inventions, discoveries and creations.  I think many of my fellow artists have had similar experiences.

Like science and politics, art is tied to the need to solve problems (or at least attempt to, to solve them as best we can).

I look at each drawing, poem, painting or performance as a set of problems to face, deal with and work through.

When I do my own work it’s as if I’m solving problems I create for myself.  The better I solve them, the more successful the work of art.

In collaborations (visual, musical, theatrical) I solve both my own problems and those which others create for me.

If scientists and artists are often “experts in problem solving” then why is this talent rarely utilized in the “problems of life?”  If one has a deep and complex awareness of reality (natural, social, political, personal) then one can do something with it.

In other words,  some ideas and voices may actually make a difference.  We can help come up with solutions, with fresh ideas.  If they get to hear the best of these, the powers-that-be can give them consideration.

As we change our government, there is hope that we can face our problems together and deal with them in a serious way.  In a few days, we’ll have a new president and a new circle around him. Best to Barack Obama. 

There are  many challenges, but maybe we finally dig in and face them.

Not only in the United States, but everywhere: it’s time for we humans to take responsibility for our planet Earth and those of our fellows who are  poor, sick or hungry.  Grow up!  Finally!

It could happen.  Artists could be among those who make a real difference.  Stranger things have happened and will happen again.