There is something incredibly calming about a stroll around the Milwaukee Art Museum. Specifically when it's the first Thursday of the month - which is free day.
I've been to the museum for a number of reasons - a specific new exhibit, a visitor to town, a special event. But I much prefer my solo visits for absolutely no reason at all. And what better excuse than free day?
What is it about that feeling? And what exactly is that feeling? Being surrounded by beauty, history, creativity, energy. The stillness of the galleries. The excitement of the school groups. Is it inner peace I feel? For a moment, I'm disconnected from the daily grind, the stress of work and life fade away. And at the same time, I'm more connected than ever to the human experience.
All of the sudden the backlog of e-mails, the sink full of dirty dishes, the paperwork, and the bills to be paid all fade away. And it's just me. Alone in a gallery. On free day. Looking. And looking not just with my eyes, because I'd argue we don't see art with our eyes - we take it in more viscerally than that.
It doesn't take a degree in Art History to see art and you don't have to consider yourself an artist to appreciate it. Half of the time I don't necessarily know what I'm looking at. None of that matters. All that matters is that you're there. And you're looking at it. It doesn't matter whether or not you get it. It matters that it gets you. It gets you caring, thinking, smiling. It gets you angry, excited, happy, motivated. It gets you in that place that only art can.
Sometimes I wish I could take that feeling with me, for the next time I get caught up in a project or get frustrated at the next round of changes life hands me. When I feel like giving up, or I wish the world would just stop for a moment so I can catch my breath. I’ll just close my eyes…
And it's just me. Alone in a gallery. On free day.
Click here for information about the Milwaukee Art Museum's Target Free First Thursday.