Who are more important, engineers or artists? My answer: yes.
There are few things as abysmally boring as being stuck in an airport layover in the early hours of the morning. For this reason, I am thankful for airport museums. Currently, I am sitting in the E terminal of the Atlanta airport, following a wonderful hour-long art excursion through each hall.
The wandering visitor will find the Atlanta, Georgia airport a wealth of culture. My personal favorite display here is the Ceramix series, which is disbursed throughout the terminal. Click on the photos below for information on each piece.
There is also a fascinating series on the African-American experience in Georgia. Some things cannot be explained in words; only in art.
I also found a variety of other art displays, ranging from flying vegetables created by (you guessed it) an Iowan artist to what appeared to be African tribal Jedi light sabers.
The presence of these displays reminded me of a children’s book I flipped through the other day. Frederick by Leo Lionni is about a little mouse who seems to do nothing important. While his friends gather food for the winter, he gathers sunshine and colors. Everyone thinks he’s a little crazy– until winter comes. Then, everyone is sad, hopeless and hungry. Leo gives everyone hope by sharing his sunshine and colors in vivid descriptions of summertime. The message behind the story is that art is important. It sometimes seems entirely impractical, but the reality is that our souls crave art and beauty. Without it, we shrivel up inside.
Some of us are naturally gifted to solve math problems, and other of us can create fantastic worlds with a paintbrush. Some of us have the guts to save people from burning buildings, and others of us have the heart to coax forth music from ivory keys. “Let each man pass his days in that endeavor wherein his gift is greatest,” said Propertius. Even if that means inspiring others with giant mosaics made from business cards! This is exactly what John Salvest has done. His Atlanta display is a giant two-panel rendition of Propertius’ quote.
Our culture tends to highly value the sciences. This is good and beneficial for our society, but we cannot forget to also value art. This morning, scientists give me the gift of flight. Artists give me the gift of joy. I thank God for both. Use your gifts, whatever they are!