Thursday, March 13, 2014

Journal Day: For Love of the Arts

It's that time again... another Journal Day prompt from Sometimes Sweet:

"If you had unlimited resources, what political or social issue, or area of scientific or medical exploration would you fund? Do you have a cause that is dear and near to your heart that you'd put your time, energy, and money into if you had the means?"

This was a challenging prompt for me; the most difficult and thought-provoking, for sure.  I find there are a lot of topics in many areas that I am passionate about, and I debated writing about several different subjects for this entry.  Here is the thought that comes to mind most quickly, though--if I had unlimited resources, I would fund programs dedicated to the arts.

I feel very strongly about this subject.  Music, visual arts, writing, dancing, acting, all of it.  I went to a high school with a fairly strong arts program--music, theater, and art, including photography--and I consider myself lucky.  I played clarinet in the band all four years.  I took several art classes, with a focus in painting, and I was also on the speech team, an experience that changed my life.  I credit the arts for giving me such an enriched and fulfilling high school experience and youth in general.  I have always been interested in creating and dreaming and I've loved the written word for longer than I can remember.  The arts have impacted my life in ways I never thought possible; my self-confidence grew stronger and I experienced a heightened sense of focus and passion.  I wouldn't be who I am today without writing, and music, and painting.

So many people in my life have been impacted by the arts as well.  My husband is a photographer and he was in the school band when he was younger.  I picked the clarinet in part because my sister played it; in addition, she has some wicked scrapbooking skills.  One of my best buddies is into drawing but dabbles in photography and takes beautiful headshots--I hope she'll take portraits of me sometime soon!  I met two of my oldest and dearest friends because of speech team and Prose Reading, certainly an art form in itself.

I could go on.  The point is, the arts have been so important and influential in the lives of so many, and I think it is imperative that every kid gets the chance to express his or her own self in whatever way they choose--be it through drawing, or singing, or playing an instrument.  It always makes me so sad to hear about schools eliminating programs relating to the arts because of funding.  Studies show that students who participate in music during middle and high school perform better on standardized tests (source here) and besides that obvious practical benefit, art provides an outlet for beauty and emotion.

"Playing music is supposed to be fun. It's about heart, it's about feelings, moving people, and something beautiful, and it's not about notes on a page."  --Mr. Holland's Opus

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