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I just finished reading Anna Deavere Smith’s book letters to a young artist.  I really, really liked it.  There is a quote I would like to share from the second to last letter, entitled The World Is Your Lab:

“As you go on this journey, BZ, I cannot promise safety.  I can try to help bring you to a kind of artistic leadership.  And that calls not for safety, but resilience, and breaking molds when you can.  It calls for absorbing this fractious world, absorbing it, sifting through it in your dreams, in your subconscious, in less than obvious ways, and giving it back to a viewer or an audience so that they see the cover of the newspaper differently.”

 

I think this quote really sums up her message of the book.  And I think it’s really what being an artist-of any kind-is.

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