Free Inspiration

One of the best parts about exploring Washington D.C. is that you’re never inhibited by cost. Practically every museum, monument, and attraction offers free admission, so you can discover amazing gems in venues that you wouldn’t have stumbled upon otherwise.

And this gem turned out to be my favorite discovery of the trip.

We dropped by the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and walked through “Turquoise Mountain.” It’s described as “a unique exhibition telling the story of Afghanistan’s contemporary artistic culture through the voices of Afghan artisans leading its revival.” Various works from Afghan jewelers, ceramicists, calligraphers, painters, woodworkers, and others were on display — and free to be touched/handled by the viewer.

Here’s a link to the exhibit page.




I didn’t take a lot of photos because I was so enamored with the work. But the colors, and the exquisite quality made my breath catch. In the back of my mind, a little voice began to remind me of everything I had wanted to do with my life, where my passions are — and that it’s never too late to do what you’re meant to do.

After the exhibit, as we crossed the street, I noticed this little guy in the road. A different kind of free and surprising inspiration.


As we walked on, I felt like I’d taken this photo before — and, sure enough, I had. Five years ago, in downtown St. Louis.


So I did a little research on the web and this is what I found:

Stikman (American): For more than 20 years, Stikman has played a game of hide-and-seek with the city — posting his signature characters in locations that are blatantly obvious yet obscured.  These small, robot-like figures found in pedestrian walkways are distorted by every tire mark and foot step that cross them.  Passed over by countless people each day, the pavement paintings often times go by unnoticed.  By hiding his work in plain sight, Stikman encourages the public to open their eyes and be observant to their surroundings. As with all street art and graffiti, a keen sense of the urban environment is developed as you become aware of and search for the art that is around us — “where art meets real life in the space we all share.”

(Here’s a link to more.)

How cool is that?

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