Monday Morning Rock Out!

Tin Can StarburstHappy Holiday Monday!

Holiday  music everywhere we go.  Viral YouTube videos of flash mobs singing and dancing. Television shows and ads filled with song.

We take it all for granted, but so much of this season is about singing, dancing, admiring, performing.  Holiday plays at school. Crafts fairs and art shows. Performances of A Christmas Carol.  Displays of Christmas lights that take your breath away.

It’s hard to imagine the holidays without all that.

But maybe we should try to do just that.  Imagine not just this time of year, but the rest of the year as well.

What would life be like without song, without beauty, without television shows, without stories to read to our kids?  What would it be like if there were no dance. No music.  No art…

I’ve been thinking lately about the fact that “art” is simply the word we use to describe all forms of human expression.  How can art be considered “fluff” or “extra,” when the ability to express and create keeps us well? Without healthy means of expressing ourselves, we wither and die – or worse, express ourselves through violence and abuse.

Margaret Martin made that point in the amazing interview she did here (you can download it from iTunes here).  Kids in the American education system, who lose interest in learning from the time they are 8 years old – UNLESS they are involved in the arts.  Gang members who stop in a mall to hear a young violinist play, gently placing money in his case.

Listening to Margaret’s interview confirms what many of us sense instinctively.  Art is not something only some of us can “do.” It is how each of us expresses our very being.  How we arrange the flowerpots on our front stoop.  The songs we sing to our children at night.  The heart that dots the i in a teenager’s name.

We are expressive beings.  Our ability to express ourselves makes us healthy, whole.  Without that means of self-expression AND appreciation for the expression of others, we die.

Art saves lives.

So this holiday season, if you are thinking about a last minute gift, get tickets to a local performance. Buy a piece of artwork from a local gallery. Do something that speaks to the soul – of the person who receives the gift, the person who created it, and the person giving it.

And please, as you consider your last minute donations this year, write a check to a local arts group – or your local arts coalition.  Tell the world with your dollars: Art is not separate. It is not extra.  Art is humanity is life.

Have a great Monday, a great week – and regardless of whether or not it is a religious holiday for you, a great Christmas – one and all!

My recommendation: Head to iTunes and download all the Making Change interviews to listen over the break.  You will head back to work inspired from head to toe!

3 Responses to Monday Morning Rock Out!

  1. Had this very conversation with my undergrad students last week…we were discussing the Reggio approach to early education. I suggested that true “art” resides within each of us; the manifestation of such varies but I believe that the common thread in our collectively created tapestry shows up via essential expression. We encouraged one another to reflect upon how we might have been trained away from our authenticity toward more “conventional or socially accepted/valued” ways of being, eventually becoming ill-confident, even afraid to explore and express our own creativity. Just imagine how recognizing and reclaiming this energy could transform our lives, our relationships, our work, our communities, our world:) Peace…

  2. As someone who works in the field of the youth performing arts, I can testify first hand how the experiences change the life of a child for the better. I can regale you for hours with stories of real children who are now leading productive and fulfilling adult lives having had their major youth arts experiences with the children’s theater company that I founded 18 years ago that now works with the City of New Orleans Recreation Department. This weekend two very handsome and successful young men attended a rehearsal of our current youth production. One of them is a performer in the national touring company of The Color Purple and the other is a very successful advertising agency rep with a major local firm. Both of them started with our company at the age of 9 and did shows with us through high school. Both of these guys told the current kids how being in our theater changed their life path as a child and lead them to their current careers and how much they love doing what they do.

    The arts make a difference – support your local arts groups – they need your support to make the difference in your community! You, the audience and supporters are just as important as the artists. Without you, there is no art.

    Love your Rock Outs, Hildy!!!!

  3. Beautifully said, Hildy! When I was in grad school, we read a wonderful piece about Art as “equipment for living” – that is, that the Arts don’t just entertain, they HELP us make it through our lives and are a tool for our very survival.

    Thanks, Hildy! Happy Holidays to you, too!