–written by Hearth Member, Ryan Bonaparte
Growing up, I was always attracted to science and technology. I would read books and magazines, and pretty much anything I could get my hands on. After high school, I went to MIT to study engineering, which many would probably see as a complete immersion into the study of traditional and emerging technology.
Needless to say, an artist was the last thing I would call myself.
An argument can be made that everyone is an artist at something in their lives, but that doesn’t mean that we would self-identify with those who make art a large component of their day-to-day activities. There are stigmas that come with being an artist. Artists may be perceived as being aloof, and in their own world detached from leading a practical life. Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth, as art is a vital part of society, but that doesn’t stop the people from believing that. Just try to imagine what life would be like without the influence of any one of the great musicians, and you get an idea of what impact an artist can have on the world.
The distinction between artists and non-artists can also lead to some people who just don’t think that they “count” as an artist. They may think that if they don’t devote their lives to pursuing an art form, they’re not a true artist. This is a particular worry when spending time around other artists. It can easily become an awkward situation where each person feels judged by the other.
In some cases that’s true and it’s immediately obvious. The pretentious groups where artists feels the “Why don’t you get a real job?” coming through from others, and non-artists get the “You just don’t get it,” vibe from the artists.
However, there are places that are much more accommodating, where people are just people with different interests.
When I met Miranda and she invited me to help grow Miranda’s Hearth, I was a bit skeptical of what I could contribute to a community of artists, or how I would even fit in. I couldn’t tell you the first thing about famous painters, musicians, or poets. But when I sat down to the first of what would later become our Dinner, Art, and Music nights, that skepticism went right out the window.
What I found was a community of individuals who thought of themselves as people first and artists second. They valued opinions that came from outside of their own experiences and welcomed casual debate without the pretense that is often associated with artists.
As a non-artist, Miranda’s Hearth has been a great way for me to dip a toe into the pool of the local artist community without having to commit to diving in right away. From business lessons to great musical performance, I’ve found the events hosted through Miranda’s Hearth to be engaging and entertaining, without feeling stuffy or ostracized as a “non-artist”.
One of the surprising benefits I’ve witnessed myself was the fact that surrounding myself with creative people found a way to encourage my own creativity. It’s not often that we are challenged to go a little outside our comfort zone, or think a little outside of the box. But by doing so, we can learn a little more about ourselves, and find new ways to interact with people around us, whatever their profession.