The Joy of Art

Paint tubes and paint brushes with paint on them

There is a lot going on in the world right now and many of us are feeling anxious or stressed. Finding methods to help us cope with the uncertainties in our lives is important; one valuable resource to remember is art. Whether you enjoy making art or you love looking at art, art can make a difference. Art has a way of lifting us up, providing much needed distraction, offering moments of joy, inspiring us, and helping us through times of crisis. There is increasing evidence that “art enhances brain function and well-being,” which seems like a positive outcome for all. August is a great time to stop and reflect on the wonder of art in our lives because it is American Artist Appreciation Month! Lots of museums from around the globe are offering virtual tours of their collections that you can enjoy from the comfort of home. Willamette’s very own Hallie Ford Museum offers a great variety of art from all over the world but with a particular emphasis on Northwest art and the Hatfield Library has its own special tie to American artists with the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive. In celebration of American artists, check out the diverse selection of print and e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

 


The Right of Peaceful Protest

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Boston Tea Party, Civil Rights protests, Women’s Right to Vote marches, Black Lives Matter protests, Iraq War protests, Vietnam War protests, Occupy protests, LGBTQ rights marches, Dakota Access Pipeline protests, March for Our Lives, March for Science—these are just some of the many examples of people exercising their first amendment rights through protest.  For generations, people have been using protests as a way to make their voices heard, call attention to an issue, influence government policy, and change the world.  Millions of people have protested and marched in an effort to fight against injustices and enact social change.  In the thick of these protests, it is sometimes hard to see what they accomplish but in the long term, protests have often succeeded in bringing about important change and even altering the course of history.  In celebration of our right to assembly, check out the diverse selection of protest-related e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

 

Let us remember, we are all part of one American family.  We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order, and the right of peaceful protest. – Barack Obama


Celebrating the Great Outdoors

June is National Great Outdoors Month and never before has getting outdoors been so important.  As we all struggle to cope with this new world of COVID-19, spending time in nature can bring joy and solace.  Striding along a path, feeling the sun on your back, watching a squirrel scamper up a tree, enjoying the beauty of a brightly-colored flower, listening to the birds singing—it’s magical!  According to the experts, being outside is one of the safest places for us to be right now as long as we remain six feet away from others.  And staying away from others is a lot easier to do outdoors! Those of us living in the Northwest are lucky to live in a temperate climate with easy access to beautiful places in every direction.  Most cities have wonderful parks and trails but just walking around your neighborhood can reveal the natural beauty all around us.  So get outside and join us in celebrating the great outdoors!  In preparation for your time in nature, check out the nature-related e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

 

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks–John Muir


Honoring Our Elders

Two older people on bikesMay is Older Americans Month and in light of the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on older populations, it seems particularly important for us to take a moment and pay our respects to older adults around the world.  It is time to celebrate the amazing contributions our elders make to our families and to our communities every day.  Their experience, knowledge and talent benefit all of us in countless ways.  Reach out to the older people in your life and let them now how much you appreciate them.  Join us in celebrating Older Americans Month and while you’re at it, check out these ebook titles related to older adults listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.


The Word for 2020 is Resiliency

The ability to carry on in the face of adversity is crucial, particularly in difficult times such as these.  With severe economic, political, environmental, and public health challenges surrounding us, it is vitally important to cultivate resiliency.  Maya Angelou once said “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”  And Helen Keller’s words of wisdom resonate beautifully all these many years later: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  We all need to consider ways to relieve stress, remain optimistic, and be grateful for the small things.  To help you find your way to resiliency, have a look at the resiliency-related titles listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.  And although you currently can’t come to the library to pick up a print book, all of these titles are available as ebooks!


You Are What You Eat!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states on their website that “Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.”  There is also increasing evidence that a healthy diet can improve brain performance and with midterms all around us, we need all the brain power we can get!  With all of this in mind, it seems fitting that we join in on this month’s celebration of National Nutrition Month.  This annual campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages “everyone to focus on the importance of making informed food choices, and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.” So help yourself to some leafy greens, grab an apple, and checkout these nutrition-related titles listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” – François de La Rochefoucald


Love Your Library

We all know that Valentine’s Day is in February but did you know that February is also Library Lovers’ Month?  That’s right, the entire month is dedicated to celebrating the place that so many of us hold near and dear to our heart—the library.  This magical place is devoted to reading, organizing, finding, studying, preserving, and adoring books. Libraries also offer a place to work on group projects, access computers, and enjoy special exhibits.  They provide a quiet, safe space for reflection, comfortable seating for relaxing, and archives full of unique treasures.  And, of course, libraries offer intelligent, dedicated staff, who provide a variety of services including valuable research help!  Join us this month in celebrating all the great libraries out there—past, present and future!

A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library.–Shelby Foote

Take a look at our WU Reads Reading Guide for a selection of library-related books available in our favorite library, the Mark O. Hatfield Library!


Cup of Tea, Anyone?

teapot and cup of teaAs Agatha Christie so wisely said, “Tea! Bless ordinary everyday afternoon tea!” There really is something satisfying about a nice “cuppa” and since January is National Hot Tea Month, we’re taking this opportunity to celebrate this wonderful ancient beverage.  According to the Tea Association of the U.S.A., tea “is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households.” Tea was initially used in China for medicinal purposes and there are numerous studies that claim “regular tea consumption supports wellness when combined with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.” So why not fix yourself a nice cup of tea, grab one of the tea-related titles listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide, and join us in celebrating tea, glorious tea!


Home Sweet Home

During this time of year when holidays abound, our thoughts often turn to “going home.” The concept of home is a powerful one but “home” means many different things to different people.  For some, it is a cozy place where they feel the most comfortable just being who they are.  In the winter, perhaps it is a house with a fire in the fireplace, a friendly lap kitty, a cup of hot cocoa, and a good book.  Or maybe “home” has more to do with the people that live there—family or friends or both! In any event, “home” must resonate with a lot of us or there wouldn’t be all those pithy sayings about the notion of home such as:

 

East, west, home’s best.

Hearth and home.

Home is where the heart is.

Make yourself at home.

There is no place like home.

Welcome home.

 

Whatever home means to you, here’s hoping your home is a happy one!  And while we’re on the subject of “home,” why not take a look at our WU Reads Reading Guide for a selection of home-related books available in the library?


Salvage Collage: A Sort of Magic

Image of artwork with children skatingThere is a new exhibit in the freestanding cases on the second floor of the Mark O. Hatfield Library courtesy of Dayna Collins, former Hatfield Library staffer.  In this exhibit, Collins has taken discarded books and breathed new life into them by creating wonderful collage pieces using different parts of the books. The exhibit includes books in various stages of deconstruction as well as finished art works. Below is Collins’ artist statement regarding the display:

Dayna Collins has always loved old books. She hyperventilates at the sight of books which are stained, defaced, torn or marked up. She rips battered books apart, reclaiming their faded fragments, and creates collages using only materials she has excavated. Dayna’s mixed media pieces reflect the passage of time, repurposing the scraps that are worn and weathered, transforming the aged and tattered pieces into something unexpected and beautiful, celebrating their fragile decay.

For more information on artist Dayna Collins, visit her website.  “Salvage Collage: A Sort of Magic” will run through January 20, 2020.