During my first time partaking in a Jane’s walk, I was pleasantly surprised by how rich the art culture was in the Downtown West Community. It seemed that every corner I turned there was a gorgeous mural that jumped out at me. I noticed that through the experience of doing the Jane’s Walk, my eyes had become peeled for art. It was as if I had slipped on some art-colored glasses that helped to focus my attention and filter out everything else. Even after leaving our Jane’s Walk area, in the car on the way home, I couldn’t stop noticing beauty around me. I felt joyful and childlike; completely struck by the unexpected beauties and culture our city has to offer.
Becoming attuned to the art around me made me feel connected to the community in a way that can only be described as spiritual. I felt like I was really a part of something; something that was important and really beautiful. Strengthening the presence of the arts culture in a city really can make the city and its residents happier. I smiled warmly at people I passed while walking down the streets and they smiled back at me, an especially unusual experience for someone who is usually quite timid of interacting with strangers.
I think that more people should participate in a Jane’s Walk because it really is a way to change your perspective of your city and see things in a new light. Without the experience of walking (rather than driving through) the area I wouldn’t have come across much of the art I was able to appreciate. At many times, I wouldn’t notice a mural or a sculpture until I was standing nearly right in front of it. I found that deliberately observing art trains you to derive warmth and feelings of togetherness from the community; it trains you to be mindful of the beauty that surrounds you and inspires joy.