Recently I have been contemplating the path of the artist - those individuals by whatever medium: Music, Dance, The Visual Arts, Movies, Theatre, Architecture, Cooking, Writing, that by their very being and self expression can enrich our lives and lead us to places of self discovery. Art and culture shape us, move us, inspire us, transport us to some place outside of ourselves, pull at our heartstrings and enrich our lives. Just look at Michaelangelo, Monet, VanGogh, The Beatles and Filmmakers like Spielberg, George Lucas and James Cameron with Avatar. The beauty of creativity and self-expression, creating something out of an idea or thought, creating art. Our culture and society does very little to support and respect the artist. What would the world be like without those individuals that have a unique and inventive point of view or style that transcends. I saw an interview with Michael Jackson recently quoting Michelangelo and it sums up the importance and gift of the Artist and Art: “I know the creator will go, but his work survives. That is why to escape death I attempt to bind my soul to my work." The artist’s work leaves a legacy and enriches the lives of others long after they’re gone. The famous painter Vincent Van Gogh never lived to sell a single painting, 150 years later after his passing,"Sunflowers" sold for 35 million dollars on the Christies auction block in London. I was there studying art at Sotheby's, watching that afternoon ... A few years ago I was invited to do an art show at The Nashville Jazz Workshop here in Nashville, a local Jazz School that features wonderful visual artists. For several weeks, I spent time exploring The power of sound and music through some of music's great pioneers. In that time I grew to understand the power of truth and self expression to inspire and uplift the world, cause us to think and connect us to something greater. A very wise mentor/friend grammy nominated songwriter and educator Harriet Schock once told me "It's the truth that touches people", and truth comes from a deep authentic place inside ourselves. If we're brave enough, we explore it and let it out.Some of us express our truth with such ease, sharing our light with the world. For others it takes great courage. One can only imagine being a black artist in the 30's and 40's : Louie Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole. For most of us, we walk around with blinders on, hiding our light. Ironically, I've come to know, the light of creation has no judgement, no fear. Creation, a power within ourselves, and connected to God or something greater just is, eternal and ever flowing. It is us that stops the light from flowing.. So here's to the artists, inventors, creators, pioneers, and those of us exploring the path of creativity and self expression, wherever you are, those unique inventive and pioneering souls who despite the odds, share their light with the world! As an artist and soul on my own journey of self discovery, and creativity, I thank you.