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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

A Day at the Museum

Have you ever come across something so beautiful and unexpected that it stole your breath? I once walked into a hotel lobby and was completely caught off guard by the ceiling of all things. It was a masterpiece of blown glass by Dale Chihuly. It was exquisite and breath-taking, constructed of glass flowers of all colors and shapes mounted onto the ceiling. Words cannot do it justice.

It’s true that beauty does something in us and for us. In purely physical terms it causes the feel-good hormones of endorphins and dopamine to be released in our brains, giving us a boost of joy, creativity and even simply relaxation. Endorphins are also known as a runner’s high and are released during or after exercise. Call me lazy but viewing artwork seems to be a more comfortable choice.

But beauty does more. Seeing it inspires us to be more creative. It can encourage us to paint or write or play an instrument. Being creative can even be something as simple as setting a nice table to go along with a meal that might be a little more special than normal. You don’t have to be Michelangelo to be creative.

Beauty also touches our soul. We tend to get quiet as we enjoy the awe and wonder elicited by the art or nature or wherever we find beauty. And in that stillness, perhaps we connect with God a little more. Surely beauty and art are gifts that are given to us from both a place and a being higher than ourselves.

Many people look for beauty in the ordinary world around them, and they find it. There is so much to appreciate if we only take the time, but every once in a while we also need to make that extra effort to find something that will knock our socks off. Something designed simply for its beauty.

When Madi started preschool she was three years old, and she went 2 days per week for 4 hours each day. The thought of having that kind of time to myself made me a little giddy. I had plans, big plans, and one of them was to take myself to the Mint Museum. I wanted to wander through the galleries in silence and absorb the beauty they contained. This museum was established in 1936, making it the first fine arts museum in NC. The building itself is a piece of art and history. When the country’s first gold mine was established near Charlotte, the miners would have to send their gold to Philadelphia to be coined. After much petitioning, it was approved that the only US mint outside of Philadelphia would be constructed in Charlotte. Eventually the building was moved and converted into the art museum it now is.

So that was the plan back in 2005. I think the first couple of days of preschool, I slept. The entire time. Soon, being able to run errands and get caught up on household chores or work became more important than something as frivolous as going to a museum. I’m ashamed to say, as ridiculous as it is, I haven’t been yet.

I hope I’m getting wiser because something that stirs the soul doesn’t seem as frivolous as it once did. In fact, it’s beginning to seem very necessary. I think maybe it’s time for a field trip!

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