Friday, April 22, 2016

Art is Vital

Art is vital.  It is around us in the air we breathe.

“It’s okay to feel sad.  But when you do, make films, draw, make something.  It’ll make a world of difference.”  Pete Docter, one of the co-creators for Inside Out said this in his Oscar acceptance speech.  Ever hear something you know will be a classic quote?  It resonated with me that night, I carried it to work the next day, and it keeps popping up, every time we lose someone we value as an artist.

David Bowie.
Alan Rickman.
Glen Frey.
Harper Lee.
Gary Shandling.
Doris Roberts.

The list goes on.  And thanks to social media, this generation’s answer to the water cooler, we see the memes, people post their tributes, news articles are shared.  You know what I’m not seeing on social media?  “I can’t believe (insert artist here) died!  They were so rich!” Instead it’s “Purple Rain is falling” or “Always”.  And why is this?  Why in these cynical times where people feel they can hide behind a keyboard, why are these the tributes flowing in?  (And yes, I am sure the posts are out there that say who cares, let’s talk about real issues” but I’m just focusing on how people are grieving.)  These tributes have one thing in common.  Art.  It is the one thread that ties us together as people.  Art.  Whether singing, storytelling, telling jokes, it is a gravitational pull we feel.  We thrive on storytelling, and as cliché as it sounds, there are performers who provide the soundtrack to our lives. 

We need art. 
We need it at home to enjoy.
We need it in our classrooms to learn about the world around us.  To learn about empathy.
We need music in our cars to get through the daily grind.
We need art on our walls to calm and soothe us.
We need stories so we can escape to other worlds, journey to lands afar, step into someone’s shoes.
We need poetry to express our love.
We need expression.
We need the escape.

This is what we need to remember in times like this when we lose another valued member of the arts world.  We need to mourn, we need to remember and enjoy their art, but we need to keep art.  Keep it in our homes, communities, our schools.  Keep it by remembering it, by discussing it, and by creating it.  Create art in your corner of the world.  Create it and don’t stop; paint, sing, write.  The world needs art, and more importantly, your world needs YOUR art.

Art is vital.  As vital as the oxygen that surrounds us.  Don’t believe me?  Look around at the tributes for a lost artist.  If not today, but the next time an artist is ripped from us too soon.  If you’re still not convinced, consider our money.  Let’s face it, Alexander Hamilton was going to lose his spot on the ten dollar bill, until a little musical came out and took Broadway by storm. 

Once more from Oscar winner Pete Docter “It’s okay to feel sad.  But when you do, make films, draw, make something.  It’ll make a world of difference.”  Go make your difference.