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Commentary: Why The Arts?

It will come as no surprise that it is my opinion that there are countless reasons to support the arts. Collectively, the arts are business; and it’s good business. The arts employ people, pump money into local economies, bring value to their communities. The arts work; and they work hard and well; they are an asset in every sense of the word.

But for me, the value of the arts to myself and my community is that it is through the arts that we know one another. When conversation fails, the arts provides a rich language with no boundaries, that links us all in a way that nothing else I know can do. Look at someone’s painting, sculpture, pot, photograph, sketch, necklace; listen to someone’s music, lyrics; read someone’s poem or story; dine at the table of a creative chef; watch an actor interpret a script or a dancer move through space. Sometimes there are no words for what you learn from those experiences, but learn we do.

We see through another’s eyes; we hear others’ music; we read others’ deepest thoughts; we develop new tastes and we watch others create art with their very being; and we know something more. We may know we do not like what we have seen or heard or experienced; but in the process of making and participating in arts, we learn about one another. And more often than not, we accept one another, across all boundaries. For me, this is the value of the arts.

Walk into any arts classroom and watch the creative process. People making art share and mentor and support one another. Making art of any kind involves risk, trying new things, solving problems and dealing with the unexpected. All of the arts teach creative thinking that gets tested in real world applications.

So, for me, the arts are vital to each person’s life. And so, I invite you this year to TRY ART  (in any form) . . . .I believe you will love it!