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Having bought our first home about 3 years ago and started a young family in it my husband and I have been in nesting mode for quite some time now. Fix this, replace that, acquire; acquire what every good home and family should have.

I’m not sure when it happened but at some point the things in our house or simply the number of things in our house stopped adding value and their maintenance started taking time (especially with little ones redecorating on a daily basis). My husband and I both came to the conclusion we needed to slim down. 

At first I’d ask what we could get rid of but after a couple gratifying trips to Good Will I’m now asking what should stay.

As an artist I appreciate art but when “because I like it” was no longer enough to justify cluttering up the house I thought about the purpose of the art in my home. I found each piece was a contributing member of the house.

Art has this way of serving as both a reflection and a window. At first glance art is a reflection of the mood its owners wish to set. But no two individuals interpret art the same way so it is a poor reflection (or at least an untrustworthy one). I’ve come to think about the art in my house as additional windows. Little portals to alternative realities that entice my mind to wander. My interpretation of the art and my feelings toward it change. I see or appreciate new things over time. I feel differently about each piece as I change. Because I’m aware of my evolving understanding of each piece I can then reflect on how I’ve changed.

But even these insights may not be enough to justify the clutter. My family has to benefit from the presence of this art. And it does.

I believe having art in my home is an important element in raising the children I hope to raise. I’m watching my children learn about the world. They learn what is, what should be and what is not. They categorize and learn to expect. You can literally see the gears turning when something new is encountered. And they never look as closely again once the mystery is solved. Art is one of the few things I can show them that has no rules or solution and requires reconsideration. I’d feel I failed them if they were uncomfortable with the many shades of gray this world has to offer and the validity of their interpretation.

The art is going to stay. I might even get more.