The Link Between Developing Artists, Accidents and Breakthroughs

01 Aug 2018, Posted by Michael Killoren in ART Matters, Community, News

For as long as humans have gathered around the fire, discovery and exploration continues to captivate our imagination. We recently learned of the existence of a twelve-mile body of water that exists under an ice cap on the planet Mars—an astonishing discovery that will ignite our scientific and creative imagination for years to come.

Several years ago, I was on an arts site visit in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During my meeting with the mayor, he explained why the City has a vibrant arts scene. It turns out that Tulsa has a high number of geo-physicists—scientists who work on identifying sites miles below the earth’s surface, for fossil fuel extraction. “It takes extraordinary imagination to visualize what cannot be seen,” he told me.

Discovery requires both courage and discipline, and the nexus between scientific and artistic discovery is well established. Scientific discovery, like artistic practice, involves trial and error, success and failure, as conditions for learning and advancing progress. And sometimes, “accidents” can lead to a different breakthrough altogether.

Artists at the Morean Arts Center are exploring pathways of discovery every day, learning new techniques, trying new ideas, and finding new avenues for creative expression. From understanding the physics of color and light to learning the chemistry of ceramic glazes, science and art are partners.

Fifty-five years ago, the studio art glass movement in America was born out of a collaboration between Harvey Littleton, a ceramic artist from the University of Wisconsin, and Dominic Labino, a glass research scientist and artist who worked at Owens-Illinois. After numerous trials and failures, they finally achieved significant technical breakthroughs—which ultimately paved the way for early pioneers like Dale Chihuly to push the boundaries as artists.

In St. Pete and throughout Tampa Bay, thousands of our friends, neighbors and family are embarking on a personal discovery of the artist within by taking classes, attending workshops, lectures, and exhibitions. I’m proud to be a part of a team that makes our community a better place by encouraging and supporting life-long learning in the arts.

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