When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”~ Paul Coelho

"Some Mad Hope..."
A young and vital child knows no limit to his own will, and it is the only reality to him. It is not that he wants at the outset to fight other wills, but that they simply do not exist for him. Like the artist, he goes forth to the work of creation, gloriously alone.
Jane Harrison

Jude Harzer Artist/Art Educator

Jude Harzer Artist/Art Educator
My art is a reflection of my effort to recognize and embrace the beauty in the world around me, even when it seems most difficult to find. Contact me at judiharz@aol.com or visit my website at http://www.judeharzerfineart.com

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"Most of us have two lives- the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance."Steven Pressfield

"The greatest freedoms are freedom from regret, freedom from fear, freedom from anxiety, and freedom from sorrow."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What Will Your Legacy Be?

Jude Harzer with hostess and world renowned artist, Faith Ringgold
Jude Harzer and Dr. Margaret Burroughs
AENJ Executive Board members: Jude Harzer, Teri Trumpbour and Barbara Calvo with Faith Ringgold's "Cassie" from "Tar Beach"

Last Sunday afternoon,June 28th, I attended the 11th Annual Anyone Can Fly Foundation Garden Party, hosted by renowned artist and arts activist, Faith Ringgold.I was a guest of friend, artist and educator Trish Maunder, who works closely with Faith's not for profit foundation which seeks to celebrate art and art education and "to honor Master Artists and Scholars of the African Diaspora who have created a groundbreaking body of work that changed the course of art history."

Each year , Faith Ringgold and her foundation honors an esteemed guest with a lifetime achievement award.The 2009 awardee was Dr. Margaret T Burroughs. The resume of this very talented and celebrated 93 year old artist is both extensive and impressive. She says of herself, "I wish my art to speak not only for my people but for all humanity...my subject matter is social commentary and seeks to improve the condition of life for all people." "Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs, poet, visual artist, educator, arts organizer and co- founder of the DuSable museum of African American History; is thought of as one of the most distinguished and influential African American artists and arts educators of our time." Dr. Burroughs addressed the audience,ending her presentation with a reading of her 2005 poem entitled,

"What Will Your Legacy Be?"

"What will your legacy be?
Stop for a moment and listen to me and
answer this question if you can.
What will your legacy be?
When you must cross that great divide into
an area from which none can hide. When
you, alone, with no one by your side with no
friend to lead you or to hold your hand?
What will your legacy be?
What deeds have you done in your lifetime
which will be left for you to be remembered by? "

Her presence and her voice commanded attention. Her words were deliberate and powerful. To read the poem in its entirety, click here:
Following her presentation, I asked Dr. Burroughs if she worked daily on her own art. She answered without hesitation an emphatic, "Yes." I questioned her about life , her technique and her purpose. I told her about my own rediscovery of my work. After realizing that we are both November born babies,(Scorpios..."small but not to be crossed she said"), she hugged me and directed me to keep going, move forward, act every day toward achieving my goal but to think consciously about what it is I want to contribute.

I am currently composing an article for an art publication about the experience of this day. To be among these living art legends: Faith Ringgold and Dr. Margaret Burroughs, who act mindfully as a way of life, who act with purpose, who create art that reflects their own rich cultural and social experiences but also the experiences of others, was awe inspiring.

"What will your legacy be?" I commented to Dr. Burroughs that I consider this very seriously at this point in my life. She said to simply act, to create as an artist and to share the idea...shout it and spread it...How will you be remembered? I am confident that I am on the right path...my legacy will somehow be inextricably connected with my art. It is who and what I am. Who and what are you?

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Jude, Art and Inspiration