I wanted to do something a little different for this week’s challenge.  The John F. Kennedy for Performing Arts is planning its 43rd Kennedy Center Honors.

So many amazing artists are being honored for their work. The list of honorees includes Garth Brooks, Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Midori and Dick Van Dyke.

Each of these artists is special in his or her own right. But one of these names really stands out to me and that is Joan Baez.

Miss Baez is not ‘just an artist’. She is so much more.

Joan first discovered her voice at the young age of 17. She was inspired by the civil rights movement spearheaded by Martin Luther King, Jr. and participated in many of the protests he organized.

In fact, at 17, she committed her first act of civil disobedience by refusing to leave her classroom for an air raid drill. Possibly most notably, she founded the Institute for the study of Nonviolence.

She has stood up for civil rights, human rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental causes. She has also advocated against war and the death penalty.

It is clear why she is being honored and why she is the inspiration of our challenge this week.

In one of her newer songs, there was a lyric “Be a good heart, evermore”. And that is your challenge.

I want to see your art that shows what having a good heart looks or feels like to you. There is no justification or explanation needed.

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I know that doesn’t leave you with a lot of instruction but I strongly believe having a good heart is something that is internal.

So, if you produce a piece of art that shows good intentions and love for humans and our earth, if you love the planet and all the animals on it, then your art is perfect for this challenge!

The above piece by Her Blaze artist Molly Nixon Karistinos is a perfect example of having a good heart. This digital piece supports equality across all fronts, LGBTQ+, Black Lives Matter and equality for women.

This is just one way to interpret this week’s challenge. Molly exhibits her unique individuality by creating strong pieces that not only convey the hardships of her own life, but those of others as well.

The exposure of these judgements and stigmas allow for voices seldomly seen or heard.

I want to leave you with a quote by Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo. It is another way to think about this week’s challenge.

“I stand indebted to the activists who fought for my right to love and happiness. I stand with a helping hand outreached to those finding their way from under socially constructed boxes to emerge from the closet. I’m standing with you.”

Not only do I feel indebted to Joan Baez to continue to advocate for equality and acceptance, I feel indebted to our Her Blaze supporters to continue to provide a safe, supportive art community to everyone! 

Thank You for reading Her Blaze Blog!

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