Tonight my new art therapy practice is having it’s first open studios night for art expression, with experimental/noise music. We are trying to bring the art-as-therapy or therapeutic experience of making art or the cathartic experience of art expression to the community. Hopefully we will engage whoever attends in making something interesting and finding the value in creative expression through art making without the pretension so inherent in the commercial art world. So many people have such judgements on what makes good art. And such judgements all seem to say that all art should fit the same mold, to say the same thing; at least here in Richmond. So many times I hear people say, “oh I’m not an artist” because their art doesn’t look like what ever is being promoted as the current “thing.” They fear their own artistic impulses because it may not be accepted by an art critic or a self-proclaimed art expert. Not that the study of art isn’t of value, that people can’t be art historians and therefore experts. Rather I am talking about the local critic/art expert who denigrates anyones artistic attemtps, works, expressions as uninteresting or imperfect or not important. I think they fear the varieties of expression any group of people, any community can have. I think they want to confine art to such narrow views because of their own inhibitions. So I hope people come out, risk their artistic souls to create something that is uniquely them. I hope they come and feel comfortable with their artistic voice, and recognize the value in the uniqueness of and the differences inherent in the individual.