Why the Arts?

28 01 2010

Transforming ArtsMost people’s concept of the arts is that of passive enjoyment. They think the arts are a luxury only available to the wealthy.

But for the rest of us, art is something different. For those of us who dance to feel liberated, or write poetry in order to live… For those of us who have smeared paint with children who speak a language different from our own… and for those of us who have witnessed people overcome addictions through the rhythmic beating of drums… we know art is more. We know art transforms.

If you’ve never thought of the arts as being quite important, perhaps it is time to reconsider…

Here are a few truths about the arts and their redemptive qualities that may change your mind:

-The arts are statements of the human experience. They enlist all of the senses, elicit strong feelings, and engender rigorous activity of the mind.

-The arts demand active participation, concentration, and discipline. They ignite ideas, ingenuity, and imagination.

-The arts cultivate a sense of self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth.

-The arts are a process, not a product. They incorporate multiple learning styles and foster healing from emotional and physical trauma.

-The arts draw people together. They encourage cooperation, group work, and helpfulness. They build relationships and promote a deeper understanding of others (Smith, Sally. The Power of the Arts: Creative Strategies for Teaching Exceptional Learners, 2001).

-The arts bypass our natural defenses and allow our internal state to be expressed externally in a non-violent way.

-Wherever art is, change will come. The arts build and improve, educate and inform, inspire and mobilize, and they nurture and heal (Cleveland, William. Mapping the Field: Arts Based Community Development. 2002.)

-The arts help us see God’s creativity. They help us find our purpose and incite our creativity too. The arts also release stress and most importantly, the arts are fun! (Joshua Cooper, 1st Year AIT Student).

So why the arts? Because they are an innate power within us all, waiting to be freed.

-Celmali Jaime

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