In equal praise of artists, cultivators, and the audience

By Kristin Wilkinson

In his book Culture Making, Andy Crouch notes that the only way to change culture is to make more of it. Each semester I teach a course in which Culture Making is a major text, so my students can repeat this dictum by heart—in fact, they do, in nearly every class, and I suspect they have it tattooed on their forearms. The artists in the class understand the idea instinctively. But what about the rest of us? Crouch also talks about “cultivators”—the gardeners. But there is a third role in this that I think sometimes gets overlooked. These folks, [Robert Capon] calls the “amateurs,” or sometimes the lovers. They are the audience. They are the receivers of the gift. Amateurs are vital for the work of culture care. Amateurs turn art into art by completing it with their own experiences. [link]