In the last few decades, there has been a growing interest and need for a focused venue for artistic expression, certainly in 21st-century American culture, but particularly in the smaller sub-culture of American Anabaptism. We at the Curator attempt to work toward the fulfilment of that need, specifically in the promotion of the literary art forms. We hope to help the emergent poets in our culture by directing their voices to where they are needed. Believing reading and writing poetry to be a valuable pursuit, we curate voices which might otherwise be unheard. We review and display items of art—items which would otherwise be neglected and grow dusty in the basements of private journals and unpublished works—and set them before you to interact with and to grow from.
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Today’s entertainment is strikingly devoid of art; a fact which, ironically, has not always prevented our cultures from equating entertainment with art, or vice versa. However, the two differ in some substantial ways. On the one hand, entertainment is too often trivial and shallow, not ultimately stimulating the soul to growth and perfection. Conversely, art is capable of nudging humans toward their highest potential—art helps humans to bring meaning to their quandaries. It demonstrates human gifts, helping us to understand who we are. For this reason, while entertainment in general may have some positive effects, it cannot begin to express the inexpressible thoughts and desires of the human heart, the expression of which is art’s goal. Unfortunately, while entertainment currently undergoes widespread consumption, today’s art has been, most unfortunately, given over to the elitist intellect. For example, virtually no one reads poetry anymore, whereas most people watch sports and movies.
Without minimizing the quality necessary for art, we hope to reclaim art as an expression of the bourgeoisie. God is the God of the common as well as the great, and art is in many ways the expression of common things. We believe that anyone can appreciate quality art, and that the human person, made in the image of the Creator, is naturally creative. A stifling of that impulse is a stifling of the image of God.
In the more focused context of Anabaptism, which, being the culture of most of our writers and editors, is our first area of concern, there is far too little room for art. Because they cannot cook and eat it, many Anabaptists find it hard to accept art as a worthy area of work and ministry. This has made art scarce and scarcely upheld in this particular community, a lack which may well make us tend toward a lack of vibrancy and life.
More and more, however, a cultural renaissance is growing to fill that lack. More people write poetry and do art of other sorts, especially in Anabaptist circles. The Curator hopes to provide a platform for the promotion, expression, and appreciation of that art, specifically in the area of literature. We strive to make that art available for the public, giving individual poets venue for expression and publication. The Curator also seeks to encourage a culture of literary appreciation both in the Anabaptist subculture and in the broader culture—both of which need revival—by providing examples of quality to which all can relate. In our selection and review, we seek to encourage and to build a high standard for poetry and literature in our contemporary context, a standard of which we hope that the broader artistic tradition need not be ashamed. All this we strive to do organically and with continued relevance for our culture, focusing on what is contemporary but not at the expense of the artistic tradition or of historical relevance.
In poetry, we feel and experience our lives in a fuller and more meaningful way, making sense of our routines and rituals, giving us a view of what is truly significant and eternal. Art helps us to understand the meanings of our lives, creating a bond which draws people together, showing universal truth via shared experience, and it is our hope to bring this healing and bonding power to all the people that we can reach.
The Curator staff