Please use this space to comment on the project, to come up with more ideas, or to suggest solutions to these problems. We look forward to hearing from you.

Here’s what we’ve been thinking about and wrote to our subscribers:

We’re used to seeing View Masters in antique stores depicting scenes for children constructed from toys or showing majestic travel destinations like Paris’ Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame.  But David Horvitz, in the piece he created for you, re-purposes and reinvigorates this forgotten medium.  Like so much of his work, here the focus is on something simple, mundane, but the result is grand.  We’re transported to another place as observers; turning inward, we become participants in this quiet moment.  Like a conch shell that can return you to the sounds of the sea, “Hermosa Beach, CA” transports you not only to this beautiful place but to that serene state of mind that comes from watching it.  This is not an accident, as the resulting emotions are enhanced by the structure through which you experience it.  In his proposal he wrote, “Since the slide reel is circular, one can get “lost” in viewing it, having forgotten where they have begun since there is no set start or end.  This relates to ideas of romanticism that I am drawn to, of looking out into the distance (giving that view to others), of being immersed in a moment.”

As you may know, earlier this month we organized a Visual Arts Town hall focused on the current situation for artists where we live in Oakland.  It was an extension of our last piece “State of the Arts” and it brought together many of the artists who participated in those original discussions along with representatives from the broader art community (local non-profits, private gallery owners and city government officials). Part of the discussion centered around the idea of creating an awareness campaign to impress the value of the arts on elected officials and the public at large.  This caused many of the artists in attendance to recoil.  Not only do they already know the importance of art, they also understand that art’s power lies in its resistance to definition. The value of art is the experience of it.

This is not to say there aren’t real, tangible benefits to supporting the arts.  There are.  Arts industries account for 5.7 million jobs in this country and generate $166.2 billion in economic activity.  Children who enjoy arts education perform better in all subjects.  Neighborhoods that house artists frequently “turn,” becoming some of the most desirable places to live.  But at the end of the day that isn’t why we make or appreciate art.  It’s to be afforded the opportunity to get lost, to experience a moment, like we do in “Hermosa Beach, CA.”

Oliver and Eleanor