PHIL HUGO, LimaOn Jan. 11, I had the privilege to be part of something special. It was a gathering of the masses in downtown Lima.We were at ArtSpace/Lima for two events: the opening of the juried photography exhibition co-sponsored by the ArtSpace/Lima Photography Club and ArtSpace, and the opening of an exhibition of photography by students at the Heritage School Arts Magnet Program.The beauty of the evening, photographic art notwithstanding, was that a very large, diverse crowd was present. Ostensibly we were there for one reason: to sample the menu of photographs that was executed by photographers young and old, experienced and aspiring. And view we did. We shared opinions on content, use of shadow, abstraction, pure genius and we saw our world through children’s eyes at the Heritage exhibition.Strangers met strangers, acquaintances were renewed, and maybe there were the beginnings of new friendships and understanding. An understanding that we could escape the crazy world beyond the facade of that building — that we could be united, no matter our differences.What was the common bond that brought us together? Art. The urge or perhaps the need we humans have to draw, paint, write, dance, compose and share those efforts with others.Because people have that need and are willing to take the time to give of themselves and encourage others, the arts in Lima and its environs will continue to be a vibrant part of our lives. They must, for humanity’s sake.As a parting thought, I invite you to stop at ArtSpace and look at the fine work in the galleries. (I am the artist in residence with Lima schools for the Heritage photography project.) Take the time to look and talk with others, strangers though you may be. You might even experience more than the common bond others had on opening night.