• John-Michael Scurio

Aesthetics of joy | Chapter 3

In the age of Instagram, how to influence joy is of utmost importance. www.iloveureka.com is my place to influence more joy and bring more awareness to the joy that is around us.


Our home, Eureka Springs, AR, is brimming with what one might call "aesthetics of joy." All around this wonderful town the beauty of the natural environment joyfully surrounds you and when you sprinkle-in the many things created by the residents and visitors - aesthetics of joy are everywhere here in Eureka.


In this blog series, we will explore these aesthetics of joy, understand them and learn more about why we are drawn to them. Most importantly, we will learn what they do for us.

Aesthetics of joy is a simple, powerful idea: our greatest source of joy is the world around us.


At one time or another, the words above have all been used to describe Eureka Springs, AR. As we explore these colorful descriptors and understand more about them, I encourage you, as you journey about in and around Eureka Springs, to take a joyspotting adventure to seek out these wonders that make our homes, our connections and our lives very joyful.


Welcome to Chapter Three, let's explore the next two aesthetics of joy - Play and Surprise.

P L A Y
Confident reds, oranges, corals, peaches, blue and turquoises have really been speaking to me lately. These colors scream summer and are packed with energy! Let's play.

Hey if you're wandering around downtown Eureka Springs this afternoon on Saturday, June 8, and 2019, you're in luck - STUDIO 34 is having it's Grand Opening Celebration. This adorable local art studio loves to play and they are located right across from the Grand Central Hotel on Main Street in downtown Eureka.

Come watch the artists play . . .


Surprise is a feeling distinct from joy, and yet they so often come together. We can be surprised by the pop of a firecracker, the stripes of a new shop’s awning in the neighborhood, the particular size and shape of a “thank you” note amongst the junk mail. Joyful surprises help to break the monotony of routines and can prompt us to reexamine preconceived notions and stereotypes. We use this aesthetic when we wrap presents, line our drawers with colorful paper, or play with norms around the scale and proportions of the objects in our surroundings.


In Eureka Springs, the element of surprise is awaiting you around every corner. My favorite surprise are the seasonal fireflies. What magical creatures they are to be able to simply exist, flutter about in nature and elicit such joy from human beings that experience them in their natural habitat.


Light production in fireflies is due to a type of chemical reaction called bioluminescence. This process occurs in specialized light-emitting organs usually on a firefly's lower abdomen.

I recently read the post from a man online that said this . . ."My young daughters are mesmerized by fireflies. They associate fireflies with magic and fairies. In the summer evenings as fireflies begin to appear, my daughters will dress up in delightful outfits that they have selected from an online store that sells princess dresses for kids. With tiaras, multi colored tutus, wands, capes, shoes, and those all important princess dresses, this site has captivated my daughters’ attention and inspired their imagination. As my daughters dance among the fireflies, twirling about in princess dresses, happy and delighted with the magic that fireflies create with their flickering light, I continue to ponder the mysteries that are fireflies."

An emerging body of research shows that there is a clear link between our surroundings and our mental health. Yet nearly all the advice on how to find happiness ignores this fact.


Designer Ingrid Fetell Lee sheds light on the relationship between our environment and our emotions, and share inspiration for living a more joyful life through design.

Aesthetics of joy is a blog-series of five chapters where we seek to discover joy all around us. Joyspotting is real, it's a thing and there is much joy to spot and experience here in Eureka Springs. In this series. we will take you on a joyful journey around Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Take a moment to check out the different chapters in this blog-series on www.iloveureka.com