What sustains us


As a woman who has largely made her living by broadcasting other people's bad news, I am still surprised at the resilience of the human spirit.Life's twists and turns dictate that we all must survive various ups and downs. I don't know anyone who has not faced some serious challenge in his or her lifetime. And each generation believes that its own era is the most difficult in history, just as I'm sure the current era will prove to be an historically great challenge for all of us living today.No other cohort in history has simultaneously experienced the risk of both nuclear annihilation and climate change. Even the great depression did not rattle the foundations of our society as much as our present circumstances have done, most certainly because we have all experienced such good lives that we have come to expect the goodness to last forever. Most troubling for me is the possibility that, even as an American, my granddaughter's future might not be as bright as mine has been. Were it not for our ability to dream and to hope, that possibility could be as depressing as a hard, cold, dusty lump of coal.Those of us with loved ones and a satisfying career, are truly blessed. Those who have learned to enjoy the beauty of nature and the talents of gifted artists are also very fortunate.During a life spent in the media, I have been exposed to all facets of the arts. Museums have become special sanctuaries, because they bring so much history and so many rare objects to the public, all for very little cost to visitors.Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but at the moment I'm carrying on a virtual love affair with a wonderful painter from somewhere near Santa Cruz, even though he is really an East Coast guy. This is an artist I know only through his work.There is something about Richard Mayhew's bright, almost shocking contemporary canvases, in contrast with the meditative calm of his earlier work, that makes me forget the troubles of the world for a few shining moments. The bright spot for me has been the joy of discovering the luminous contemporary work of an artist who has been painting for nearly fifty years. Along the way, he stymied any critic who tried to categorize him. In October, the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) will mount a major retrospective of this illuminating artist's life's work.Mayhew recently donated one of his early oil-on-canvas paintings to MoAD. For the benefit of the museum, the painting will be sold at auction on Wednesday. It is a moody, ecstatic piece called Spring Transition. If you are a fan of Mayhew's work and would like to support MoAD, contact Katie at the museum (415) 358-7217.Whether you seek calm on the walls of a museum, or escape into concert halls or theatrical stages, it's good to know that there are places like these to help center your thoughts and emotions. We are truly blessed and very fortunate to live in an area with such a bounty of cultural riches and living artists. So get out there and enjoy!