An Art Hound’s call to action

You may have noticed that "Art Hounds" has different incarnations.

In addition to my regular Thursday post, there's an audio Art Hounds, that my colleague Chris Roberts produces for the news station (it airs every Thursday on Morning Edition and All Things Considered). This consists of three different "Art Hounds" talking about what they're excited to see and/or do over the weekend.

Well recently Chris Roberts invited actor/director Zaraawar Mistry to be an art hound. Mistry responded with this call to action for all of you.

Hi! This is Zaraawar Mistry... Instead of telling you about a show or an event that I'm excited about, I'd actually like to invite you to be an art hound for yourself.

The first thing that you need to do in order to be an art hound is the sniffing. An art hound loves the familiar scents, but it's the new ones that it discovers that are the most exciting. This means that you are not going to rely on a friend, or a reviewer, or some guy with an uncommon name on NPR to tell you what's worth checking out. You're going to do the digging yourself. You're going to read the papers, surf the internet and listen to the radio until you find something that catches your attention.

The next thing you need to do in order to be an art hound is the digging. What is the event, where is it and who's involved in its creation? An art hound has some favorite digging spots, but every once in while it comes up with someplace entirely new. And that's what you need to do. Look for a show or an event in a genre that you might not typically attend, by groups and performers you've never heard of, at venues in neighborhoods that you've never been to. Be brave. Take a chance. Whatever the outcome, at least you will have tried something new and different.

Finally, an art hound always leaves its mark. You need to do this too. Don't be a silent spectator and politely leave when the event is over. Engage with the art that you witnessed and the community of artists that you experienced. Bark. Say hello. Give them feedback. Most artists love to know who their audience is and how they responded to the art. Hey, you might even make some new friends.

Of course, you can't be an art hound all of the time, but every once in a while it sure is worth a shot. Who knows? You might catch theater in a barn run on solar power, poetry on the capital city's sidewalks, or Morris dancers by the Mississipi River at sunrise.

So go on. Go for it. Take a chance. Start sniffing around and, just for once, make yourself your own art hound. Woof, woof!

Zaraawar Mistry is a theater artist and dog owner. He lives in St. Paul.

So now are you ready to take the Art Hound challenge? C'mon, give it a try!

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