With all the news headlines being blasted onto our screens, it's hard not to get caught up in the cycle of reporting about how hostile and confrontational the world is. It's tempting to believe that people have forgotten how to be empathetic, or how to work together. To despair that we no longer welcome strangers or build bridges to people we know little about.
But beyond the headlines and shouty news reports, there are plenty of people getting on with the business of connecting and collaborating, particularly in the arts community, where performers, and creators and designers and a myriad of other people are coming together to envisage art that crosses borders and speaks a common language.
The mural featured above was created by urban artists from Reading, Haifa, Chemnitz and Düsseldorf to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their twin city partnerships. For a week, four artists worked together on the wall, riding a cherry picker into the sky to create this beautiful piece of work that reflects the diverse styles and influences of the four artists.
For our part, we here at Blue Goat Theatre, are incredibly pleased to be representing Düsseldorf at the Reading Fringe Festival on 29 July and doing our small part to build connections between our two cities. That's what art is all about.
Artists don't build walls. We paint on them...and project on them...and use them as backdrops for our theatre pieces. We hang art on them and suspend installations and sound equipment and lights from them.
Because we're not afraid of what we don't know. We want to discover what's behind the walls - both internal and external. It's our job to explore those places and to tell you of the wonders we have seen. That's where the magic is.