• John-Michael Scurio

Contrast

It takes both rain AND sunshine to make a rainbow.

To wake up every day is a gift.

To wake up every day in Eureka Springs, AR is a truly beautiful gift.


On this day, I awake and bask in the beauty. The only thing on my mind right now is coffee, my porch and these wonderful singing birds.


Wait . . . that's not true. There is something else on my mind. It's been on my mind for a while. A question. A big question. A question that I keep asking myself.


How did Eureka Springs become such a beautiful place?

SUNSHINE

Eureka Springs, AR is in Carroll County, AR, United States, and one of two county seats for the county. It is located in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas. As of the 2010, the city population was 2,073.


Our entire city is on the National Register of Historic Places as the Eureka Springs Historic District. Eureka Springs has been selected as one of America's Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Eureka Springs was originally called "The Magic City" and later the "Stairstep Town" because of its mountainous terrain and the winding, up-and-down paths of its streets and walkways.

We are a tourist destination known for unique character as a Victorian resort village. The city has steep winding streets filled with Victorian-style cottages, manors and homes. The historic commercial downtown of the city has an extensive streetscape of well-preserved Victorian buildings. The buildings are primarily constructed of local stone, built along streets that curve around the hills and rise and fall with the topography in a five-mile long historic loop. Some buildings have street-level entrances on more than one floor. The streets wind around the town, and no two intersect at a 90 degree angle.


Some places in the world like, Eureka Springs, are very easy to love. Amsterdam, Paris, Monte Carlo, Lake Tahoe. They require no work on our part, and no wonder: beauty is everywhere you look. Others, on the other hand, need you to get to know them before they show you their charms.


Eureka Springs is Cinderella.

RAIN

Let's understand our neighbor - Harrison, AR. Here we have a city in in Boone County, AR that neighbors us here in Eureka Springs, AR.

"And if you'll look close enough, you'll still see the light in her eyes and the beauty in her smile. Just sit down with her and listen. Because first she'll show you her scars and black eyes, and all the broken pieces of herself. But then she'll tell you her stories, and when she does, listen to her. Because the stories she'll tell you will be one of a kind."

Today (2019) Harrison, AR is known as a center of white supremacist activity, including the national headquarters of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Some think of Harrison and see it as an ugly place. I think Harrison itself is beautiful and the only reason Harrison became an ugly place is because of human beings.


In keeping with my metaphoric mindset this morning, Harrison is Eureka's evil step sister.

In ugly cities, you walk around with your eyes wide open. Maybe you don't feel as safe as you would surrounded by beauty. But you're also probably starved for beauty and look for it wherever you can. And that's how you discover that an ugly, desolate place has a café which serves the best coffee in town. Or that that joint which looks closed and sad during the day turns into a magical nightclub after the sun goes down. Or that there's a museum with an amazing art exhibition where you'd never have thought a museum could be.


If you scratch deep enough, you'll find plenty of ugliness in even the most beautiful cities. Every city has crime, alcohol problems, violence, and death. That's because we are humans and humans can be ugly at times.


Over the years, humans made Harrison ugly just like humans made Eureka Springs beautiful. Every Cinderella needs an evil step sister to show stark contrast to the beauty.

The ‘unexpected’ can cause a range of feelings in humans, from joy to fear. The ways in which people cope are specific to them, to their early life experiences, their stage in life, and their future concerns. Most people had an experience flowing somewhere in-between.

In art, the contrast between the dark pigment of charcoal against light or absence of pigment on paper can create drama that is compelling to the eye. The self-portraits of Kathe Kollwitz and Egon Schiele are good examples of this. In Kathe Kollwitz’s work, drama is created by the contrast of not only the pigment but of the pressure applied to the paper, and the use of contrasting line to define and imply action or the lack of it. In Schiele’s numerous self-portraits, intensity is created by the placement of thick, dark, lines which define and the almost absence of pigment in other

areas. Schiele’s self-portraits express his willingness to expose himself literally and figuratively on paper and canvas. If you Google an ‘image’ search for Kollwitz or Schiele and self-portraits, you will find very expressive examples of contrast in: texture, line, form shape and subject matter. You may find the experience exhilarating. You may find some of the artwork off-putting.


Think of Harrison as a person for a moment. Harrison was raised in an ugly environment. The things that happened in and around Harrison were ugly. Harrison fostered ugliness and still does.


Harrison is only ugly if you continue to think of it as being so.


Nobody is ugly, nobody CAN be ugly since we're all different - there is no one perfect person, and someone, WILL see the beauty that is you. Today, I choose to see beauty in all things - even Harrison.


Harrison is not off-putting to me. This is because I make a conscious choice to embrace Harrison and make it more beautiful just by thinking that it is so. Humans can make Harrison beautiful if we collectively agree and work toward it.

After all, Cinderella's beauty shined in the contrast of her evil step sisters.

Cinderella needed her step sisters.

Eureka needs Harrison.

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