…As Important as Breathing

“The rapidly evolving global economy demands a dynamic and creative workforce. The arts and its related businesses are responsible for billions of dollars in cultural exports for this country. It is imperative that we continue to support the arts and arts education both on the national and local levels. The strength of every democracy is measured by its commitment to the arts.” –Charles Segars, CEO of Ovation

I’ve always considered myself an artist.

Not that I’ve shown any real talent in anything I’ve undertaken, but I soooo love being involved with anything “artsy”.

In junior high I perceived myself an actress. I played a bit part (2 min onstage) in a play called “It Runs in the Family”. If memory serves me correctly it was about a family of athletes, one of the daughters being the stand alone bookworm, turns out to be a football superstar when the game is on the line and her brother (the star quarterback) gets sick. I played the part of a little old lady who comes to the house for some reason or another. I remember my grandmother lent me her purple scarf for a kerchief and I found a paten leather handbag complete with metal clasp to complete my costume.

The next year I had a starring role as the duchess of a small country in “The Mouse that Roared”. I remember leaning over the railing of the balcony of the college theater, watching other performers onstage and whispering to myself

“I love the theater”.

Ninth grade had me as “Mr. Fox” in a children’s interactive play “Pinocchio”. I was so convincing the kids ripped off my tail in an effort to stop me from capturing Pinocchio.

In high school I gave up drama for courses that would “get me a job” when I grew up.

My life has not been limited to drama however, for ten years I studied piano. Complete with theory classes and piano exams. Again , this stopped in high school when I got a part time job at the Piccadilly Malt and Donut Shop and traded Sonatas for an ice cream scoop.

I took art classes in college and loved them. I’ve always loved to draw and paint and sculpt. Out of all of this, painting drawing and sculpting is where my heart feels most at home.

Next week the high school where I teach is presenting two nights of celebrating the arts. Over the last few months I have witnessed so many of my students come forward desperate to be a part of this celebration. Some have shown the courage and determination to audition and perform, others revealed a part of their soul through their artwork, and still others just want to take part even if it means hanging drapery or washing dishes.

If there is one thing I’ve discovered it’s that the arts provide a revealing of self that requires an exceptional courage that is rare to see in any individual.

Music, art, drama and dance are

for some,

as important as breathing.

It is the place where we feel successful, safe and accepted.

The arts are where we not only show what we can do,

it’s where we show who we are.

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