This marks the third year for NOTO’s monthly art walks. The overall plan is to transform the older, rundown building in North Topeka downtown district into an art district. NOTO arts now has around 5,000 volunteer members.
The art walk features a plethora of different arts and artists. The different art forms include the traditional brush and canvas, fashion design, sculpting, music and the new, “hot” steampunk art.
Steampunk is a postmodern style of art that combines many elements. The overarching theme is eclectic, and the core of steampunk style is derived from the industrial revolution.
“I couldn’t live without art,” said Sherrie Dick, jewelry creator. “I’d go without furniture before I’d go without art.”
Art is typically thought of as the creative expression of emotion. Some say that art wasn’t invented, but is an expression of one’s self that started tens of thousands of years before writing began.
Others say that art is used as a creative means of communication that began with writing. Either way art is now it’s own culture, and many even speculate that art is a philosophy.
“Art is freedom, creative expression,” said DeAnna Rowe, gypsy dreamer extraordinaire. “It’s where I go when I’m done with work and want to make stuff, like a meditation for me.”
One of the oldest and most recognized artists would be Leonardo Da Vinci. Born in 1452 in Italy, Da Vinci is most known for painting the “Mona Lisa” and the “Last Supper.” Aside from painting, Da Vinci was also a sculptor, writer and inventor, all aspects of why he was such a strong figure of the Italian Renaissance.
Art has changed dramatically since then, from works of Shakespeare to paintings by Andy Warhol, and continues today to recent songs by Lady Gaga. Regardless of personal perspective, art remains defined as the creative expression of imagination.
“You need to be creative in your life,” said Britta McKee, handcrafted jewelry designer. “I express a lot of love in my art. It might be happy and colorful to me, but to someone else it might be a little gloomy. So art can have a different meaning for anyone, and I think they need to express it however they want to.”
Some people are drawn to art strictly for its monetary value. Art pieces can range from $10 or $20 to millions of dollars. A painting by Francis Bacon recently sold for over $142 million at auction. Others enjoy art simply for the sublet emotional shifts one might feel.
“I majored in art when I was at Washburn. I’m down here visiting because it’s a nice day and something enjoyable to do,” said Kris Roberts Community Village Lawrence.
Art festivals have been a tradition for many cultures throughout the years from the creation of the wheel around 10,000 BCE to the Chinese Beijing opera that started in 1700s. Now we come to a point where art is geared to individual expression, and where a person can relate to another without words. Some would say art has changed everything.
“NOTO wants everyone to be able to enjoy art,” said David Leamon, NOTO committee member. “Not a specific economic class or age group, but the NOTO arts district wants everyone to be able to enjoy it. The art walk is a great way to bring the community together in a peaceful and joyous way so we can all enjoy our city together.”