Made a new friend today and talked at length about the fine arts world. Like so many artists, we deeply wish to be acknowledged by the gatekeepers and paid handsomely for our toil. We wonder if one day we’ll receive our golden ticket from on high. In the meantime, we also resent the establishment. We resent that, often enough, the emperor has no clothes. We believe in experimental, weird art--the kind of stuff that does not pay, made by the kind of people who can’t make a living doing it. We had this conversation on the rustic wooden stage at Street Creature’s Puppet Clubhouse while community members painted monarch costumes for the Asheville Mardis Gras parade on the floor below us, reminding us that--maybe more than anything--we believe in art as a tool for strengthening communities.