John P. Lasater IV, of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, has been cooking up events to raise awareness about art — his own, and art in general. And now he’s wondering what else he can do, and asking for a general brainstorming session with all artists.

“Fountain in the Rain,” by John P. Lasater IV, oil, 11 x 14 in. Lasater says that with this painting, he sought a lyrical quality reminiscent of music.

Lasater recently posted on his blog about his determination to tackle the obstacles that contemporary art faces in today’s society. The post starts with this: “One thing I’m into right now is facing BIG art-related problems, you know, the ones we quit thinking about because they seem impossible to solve. Normally I would move on. But, move on to what? A less-than-ideal reality?” Then Lasater names two of the issues he’d like to address and opens the floor to more suggestions. The conversation has spilled over and blossomed on Facebook.

“Summer Sun Over the Illinois,” by John P. Lasater IV, oil, 18 x 18 in.

The first topic Lasater brings up is “How do we get art-deprived areas to be interested in the arts?” by which he means, if you don’t live in an arts center, how do you get people in your area to see visual art as a vibrant, important part of life? Lasater mentions his event in the fall in which he painted 24 paintings in 24 hours, and the Face Off competition held at Little Rock’s Arkansas Art Center, in which 18 painters sat across from each other in pairs and painted portraits for 20 minutes, after which one “won” and moved on to paint another artist, and so forth, until one painter remained. He also noted the movement to invite the general public to events in which cocktails and drawing or painting are mixed, to break down barriers and make art more sociable.

Other artists chimed in with anecdotes about successful events involving children, paint-outs in well-trafficked nature preserves, and artists displaying their work in nontraditional places like doctor’s offices.

“10 p.m.,” by John P. Lasater IV, 2013, oil, 9 x 9 in. One of the paintings Lasater did during his 24 in 24 Hours event last fall

Another topic Lasater proposed was “How can art be as popular as music?” By the end of the recent thread on Facebook, Lasater was mentioning the toughest nut to crack in this field: how to get schools to value the teaching of art.

Do you have something to add to this discussion? Visit one of his posts, or comment on PleinAir magazine’s Facebook page.


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