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For Arts' Sake

The arts have captivated society throughout the ages through famous paintings, poetry, music, and so much more. Art serves as a heightened form of communication and has been and still remains an indispensable treasure we can employ to educate society about our history and our humanness. Art can unify communities, develop the deeper recesses of ourselves, and help us feel compassion for others. It also adds culture to our lives and provides a creative outlet for expressing so much of our past, present, and the possibilities of the future. With these invaluable attributes in mind, where do we find society’s interest and involvement with the arts today? Do we find that many individuals have shifted away from exposure to the arts by mere lack of time, access, interest, or educational exposure? Or do we find that people are becoming attuned to curating a lifestyle that is more enriched, thus seeking to prioritize more art in their lives?

In the performing arts, ballet and opera rose through the ranks during the Renaissance and Baroque eras and helped serve and shape generations of aristocrats, composers, performers, religions, and society. Although the history of music goes back much farther than these periods in history, many branches within the arts generally served a major role in the daily life of many nations—music being one of those main categories. Do you remember what age you were when you had one of your first exposures to music? Or what age you were when you first began singing (whether that was with childhood games or in school), tried playing an instrument, listened to and watched a musician perform in person, attended a large music performance, or became interested in compiling your own music collection of favorite artists? Was music something you were able to experience as a result of exposure provided by your school, or were you raised in a family or community that provided these opportunities?

Maybe someone reading this had none of the above, but with the advancement of technology, the arts are more accessible than ever. Nearly every art form can easily be discovered and researched online and also accessed anytime through the convenience of an app. Don’t have time to read that book? You can listen to it as an audiobook while you’re traveling during your daily commute. Can’t travel to the destination to enjoy that concert in the middle of the week? You can watch it livestreamed with a subscription or often just for free, or view it later through a recording or limited-time-only archive.

Still, there is no substitute for viewing a piece of artwork in person or attending a live performance. We don't merely want to rely on experiencing art through screens. For instance, when we are in attendance at a concert, we experience the full range of sound, untainted by compression or other electronic alterations. Visually, we are able to direct our attention in response to the moment rather than, as in a recording, we are constrained to a few camera angles as determined by the video editor. Moreover, a live concert is a communal event, a shared, immersive experience never to be repeated exactly the way it unfolded. The arts sector is continually creating new ways to attract more patrons by offering free events and special events in a variety of venues beyond the concert hall, museum, gallery, or local park. Finding these events merely requires a little research and staying updated with local and regional events or by subscribing to social media updates.

As artists, we are deeply attuned to the value of art and reap the benefits brought forth to our emotions, inspirational thoughts, and well-being. Joining others for an outing of photography, trying a painting class, belonging to a book club, inviting friends to concerts, and planning museum visits with our families are only a few ways to share the value of experiencing art together. Weaving the arts into our communities and being part of this process enhances our daily lives—for if not now, then when? Now is the time we can appreciate and enjoy our shared culture and common humanity as more people seek ways to have a balanced life, a deeper existence, and a life that is enriched with the gift that is art.


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