Of art, beauty and life by Misha Lyuve

Feb 6, 2011

On Friday January 12, 2007 between 7:51 and 8:34 AM,

at the Washington DC’s The L’Enfant Plaza station

a violinist played 6 classical pieces.

As 1,097 people passed by him during the rush hour,

several stopped by to listen and at the end he grossed $32.17 in his hat.

But this wasn’t a struggling musician,

but a world renowned violinist playing

on a $3.5M Antonio Stradivari instrument,

Joshua Bell, who 3 days before had sold out Boston Symphony Hall.

(To read the full Pulitzer winning Washington Post article click here.)


Oh yes, we know how to enjoy art when we are visiting a museum or going to a concert. We also occasionally experience beauty when for a second we halt the tempo of our daily routine catching a glimpse of a pretty cloud or shades of a sunset. So for the most part within our life our experience of art & beauty is comprised of precisely allocated time slots and rare random and very brief moments of awakening – which would add up (making broad generalizations) to an average of at most 1 hour a week and about 0.6% of our life.

Is this all?? And obviously not because of lack of beauty in the world or opportunities in life to see art and be artistic in self-expression. It is a function of our vision. So let me just rub my eyes; art & beauty are not that far away, but right here. To see it will just take being present – keeping my eyes and ears open and slowing down that ever-lasting  voice in my head.  

photo courtesy of Vika B Studio

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  1. Rev. Catherine

    Amen! my son!!! Beauty is all around and I just take the time today to say I found it in you! People are God’s most profound beauty and I am amazed at how different he made all of us yet so much alike. I get lost in the beauty of this earth and the magnificent way it was designed, all spoken! in existence just for us who so often don’t appreciate all we have. Keep doing what you’re doing my Misha, helping me to make others aware of what’s truly important. I like the way you enjoy life … so thankful for the meeting of you … my little artist! … I see it in you for sure!

  2. Misha Tismenetsky

    This was a great social experiment and I can’t say that I am surprised by the results. Some people just don’t care about classical music, others don’t mind it, and few are really passionate about it. Could it be that the few people that did stop to listen to Bell were classical music fans and the others either didn’t care or didn’t mind? But I think it also depends on people’s state of mind and their expectations. Most people expected a routine commute to work and that’s what they got. Even though there was a world class violinist playing for them, people modified and distorted their reality to meet their expectations without even realizing it. How crazy is that!!! So let’s rewire our brains, put aside our expectations and experience the world!