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ART IS MEDICINE. This is a big statement I know, but I'm sure that it heals. I have witnessed it. I have been a first partaker in its miracle many times. I've been revived by an orchestra at the Cherry Street Pier. I have drowned my sorrows in acrylic paint across a canvas or two. I have been affirmed by an audience with thunderous applause from the stage and I have danced like no one was watching to a perfectly curated playlist. I guess it's safe to say that art has been my therapy, "art therapy,” that should be a thing (lol!).

Art has always been my muse. I often wonder how others may not experience an aesthetically pleasing moment for years. I don't just mean a song or music award show performance. I'm talking "Gregory Porter'' live, belting to the rafters with a dark cello behind every note. Now that's living! In today's new norm of quarantine, face coverings, and home-school an artistic break from it all could be just what the doctor ordered. Though many of us still choose to lock ourselves away until the Corona cloud is gone and some of our brave front liners and essential workers push through with disinfectant in tote, there are still many ways to artistically escape.

Have you ever experienced a virtual art gallery? Out of necessity many curators, artists, and aficionados have resorted to a virtual expression to promote their work and inspire their audience. Shameless plug, I too am in that number. Visit and check out their epic virtual exhibition. The gallery not only features four pieces from my painting series "Validity," but you will also see work from emerging African American artists that will take your breath away. These highlighted artists are from all over the tri-state area and beyond. You're welcome in advance.

Need some more dope escapes from rona-fever? Check out some virtual paint & sips. Heck, create your own. A little paint, some candles in your favorite bottle of

wine go a long way. Try viewing some virtual galleries on YouTube. Many artists have captured their roller coaster of emotions in profound, exciting and controversial ways. Check out the Riverfront Renaissance Center of the Arts "Isolation Gallery 4." This collection is compiled of works created during or related to the isolation each artist experienced during COVID-19. You'll even see two of my own pieces "Another Monday" and "Brown on the Rocks," beside other exceptional works.

Truthfully, I can literally go on forever about the many options to help provide that artsy fix. So, no one is attending live concerts at the moment, that's nothing a good playlist or a YouTube binge of your favorite artist's live performances cannot cure. It is such a good time to embrace other genres of music, indie artists and other forms of artistic expression. Doing so could help to expand our reach and embrace one another in a way that is so necessary in a country so divided.

We all have heard and agreed that "music is universal." Well, I say, art is universal! All of its many forms just aren't as widely appreciated. So, while our amazing scientists are tirelessly producing enough vaccinations to cure our land, let's put to use what we have for our mental and spiritual well-being. Let's rock out to instruments made from household appliances on the corners of urban streets. Let's create murals of social change on the walls that witness the peaceful protest. Let's sing songs of hope written by amateurs who dare to see themselves beyond their circumstances. Let's dance in the light of our youth that still dare to dream in the face of adversity. Art is medicine… and we are the vessels that carry it. Live. Experience. Create. Heal. Repeat.

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