Collaboration. Combination. Crossover.

Call it what you want. I just know I like it. It’s fresh and invigorating and blooming all over: the cross-pollination of art and life. Art and politics. Art and poetry. Art in the everyday.

I love it.

We don’t live vacuum-sealed lives, with clear divisions between topics and concerns, passions and hopes. Why should art? Or poetry? Or politics? I say, take it out of the courthouses, the museums, the academic books. Blast poetry across busses and airplanes, write it across sidewalks and on grocery store floors. Wrap buildings in color, landscapes in cloth (e.g. Christo). Blend words and art and ideas together. Explore the push and pull of emotion and movement, reason and whimsy. Let it get messy and interesting and fun.

That’s just what a group of Denver artists have done with Dems Do Denver. To celebrate the Democratic National Convention in Denver (August 25 – 28, 2008), a handful of notable Denver artists have created donkey-themed, limited edition political buttons. The collectibles are just $4, with 10 percent of the proceeds going to the Denver National Convention Host Committee. (My faves are by Tracy Weil and Hadley Hooper.)

These aren’t the staid buttons of the past. It's politics retooled to reflect today’s willingness to try new things. With these buttons, and in many artful collaborations, there is a suggestion of hope, a willingness to see things in a new light.

Though really quite simple, these crossovers have the power to make real and tangible change. Art invigorates the soul, strengthens the mind and helps generate other art forms. Ideas are born and an audience grows. A momentum feeds movement and, ultimately — hopefully — a greater good.

And all that for just four bucks.