Defining Art has baffled philosophers, scholars, artists, politicians, and the public since the first red-ocher bead. An idea, a tangible object, a feeling: Art is as complex and mysterious as Love. Art has imbued me with critical skills, empathy, and passion. Art is part of my identity.
Taking a drama class in high-school prepared me for the Real World in ways I couldn’t possibly have fathomed while sitting in our drama teacher’s corner office, on a ratty couch, watching fellow students do improv. Likewise, I participated in school and community theater. Who knew that a rigorous practice schedule would strengthen my time management skills? Being on stage as an awkward tween, dressed in ridiculous costumes, belting out lines, enabled me to deliver presentations without anxiety. I can call a room to attention without screeching and teach classes back-to-back without loosing my voice because I learned how to project to the back of a theater. Being part of a close-knit, multi-age cast was not only brilliant fun but was a place where kids from all different cliques bonded and felt welcome.
My earliest memories of picture-books are with my Dad reading to me. Reading voraciously gave me portals to other worlds and experiences. Learning about different perspectives, battles between good and evil, love and history, all helped me develop the understanding that the human experience will vary depending on who you are, where you’re from and when you were born. Reading made me more empathetic.
Able to take Honors and Advanced Placement English classes, I learned how to dissect, discuss and write about a book at length, without ever having actually read it. In college, the talent of reading only a summary of the assigned chapter and still being able to impress my Old-English speaking, PhD holding professor, was an invaluable boon. Similarly, I was often cursed by friends for my uncanny ability to sit down, put fingers-to-keys, and turn out ten pages of a paper. Professors tuned me to different writing styles: when to be academic and when to be causal, how to be succinct and how to be flowery. With these skills, writing seven different cover letters and responding to prospective employers’ essays doesn’t seem so daunting.
Growing up in art museums and enrolled in art classes for kids, visual art has always been part of my life. Creative thinking is a vague concept but learning how to problem solve on a canvass, in clay or with a collage trained my brain to think about all angles of an issue. Break down the problem and build it up again; no idea is too unusual to be considered. Though I don’t make a lot of substantial art myself, being around Art still serves as an outlet. Exploring galleries of sculpture and painting transports and elucidates. Each object tells a story. Each embodies a time, place, people. The individuals working in The Arts are the most compelling, eccentric, intelligent, passionate, dedicated, and creative that I’ve had the pleasure to meet.
Art is all around us. It is everything we touch; it is in everything we do. Art is human and art is life.
Art is not going away.