Publisher’s Note: Choose Joy

These are the most challenging times that almost any of us can remember. But as we continue to face uncertainties and difficulties that are unprecedented, we have to remember that this is not the final verdict.

In past issues, I’ve written about the positive effect that both beauty and relationships have on us. I believe more strongly than ever that we’ll emerge victorious on the other side of our present travails. And one of the ways that we’ll get there is by having a determined point of view.

Each of us has specific things in our lives to be joyful about, and we have the power to focus on these positives. Beauty is invigorating to both the creator and the viewer. Whether you are an artist, architect, or collector, you can be uplifted by the joy and brightness that creativity brings. And even more important are the relationships that we enjoy within the art community. During these times, I think we’ve all been more in touch and supportive of our friends and loved ones who might be struggling, bringing a silver lining to the dark clouds.

On a recent visit with artist Quang Ho, he talked about his motivations as a painter. He said: “I paint from joy, not from fear. Fear is not true; it’s not real. If you trust your joy and not your fear, you will be able to break the bonds that paralyze and hold you back.” Knowing Quang personally, I have seen that this is the way he chooses to live his life. What a wonderful model for the rest of us!

It’s an example of how we need each other now more than ever. We may agree or disagree about the merits of a style of architecture or the technique behind an artwork, but if we all agreed, what a boring world it would be. Whatever the topic — art, faith, or politics — when it’s warranted, we can and must agree to disagree. As the age-old maxim goes, when I treat the other person the way I would like to be treated, it’s a much better world.

There’s a familiar passage that says, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things. These are words to live by.

Let’s use art and architecture to inspire both ourselves and the world around us — to help others see the future in a joyful light. We, here at Western Art & Architecture, hope that you’ll find some of that very joy in this issue.

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