I am an editor, translator and writer. As I child I was a homeschooled, the oldest in a large, loud Russian family (10 children) in Upstate NY.
At age 17, I moved to Russia for over a year, drinking tea in tiny kitchens with peeling wallpaper, reading Dostoevsky, roaming the streets, riding trolleys with cracked windows and old grandmas, visiting monasteries and museums. Upon my return, I completed a humanities degree in New York University in New York City
The contrast between the multiple worlds I’ve occupied has made me realize a few things about art and its role in the formation of an individual and society.
- Art can help us build lives of beauty and spiritual health, despite the focus on madness and ugliness that seems to be so ‘in’ today in schools and universities.
- We live in a time when art is often used to promote liberal values and undermine traditional understandings of beauty and purity. It is getting harder and harder to find art–or art critics and curators– who do not use art in a way to teach the liberal ideals.
- But there is art that teaches and reflects a traditional, healthy, communal way of life. Art that teaches us to reach high. And today, that is what we desperately need.
I want to help those people with traditional worldviews to find art that speaks to them and their beliefs and dreams.
Art that builds, and doesn’t destroy the idea of higher beings and higher purpose and art criticism that doesn’t try to rewrite has traditionally been held to be valuable and beautiful–but rather builds upon it.
For this end, Russian art and culture offers a particularly rich, and almost mysterious (because ignored) resource .
This is in part because historically, Russia is a country in which a traditional faith fundamentally influenced the development of culture, and partly because Russians just notoriously obsess over the meaning of life.
But also, Russian art is mysterious and charming and new because it is too often ignored and forgotten.
So I propose that we go on a journey to find and understand largely unknown, but meaningful and deep art and the worlds of artists and thinkers. Why?
Because both we and our children need something to strive for, colours to dream in, and things to contemplate that give us peace and help us search for the transcendent and perfect in life and beyond it.
We need something that replaces advertisements and the art of chaos. We need culture, a beautiful, meaningful, or, at least, aspiring culture.
So let’s begin?