Why Support & Promote Art?

A thought from the Executive Director:

I guess I never really thought about art being an integral part of our lives until I started this job.  I had always been creative – thanks to a creative family, and being brought up in the Midwest where we hand-make just about everything.  It wasn’t until I started working with a genuine artist at the bead/jewelry store I owned in Topeka that I was taught the difference between craft and art.  It always amazed me that this artist could not only create something that was unique and innovative, but she also “named” each piece that she made.  Creating was an expression for her; an expression of emotion, experience and intuition.  Before crafting something with a stone or focal bead, she looked at it for some time to “feel” where she thought the direction for it should go.  Then with the technical talent she had developed, she merged the two together to create her “masterpiece”.

One of the defining points of art is in the expression – in the creator and the observer.  Good art can excite, provoke, soothe and inspire, but it requires a commitment of the soul.  As the creator, I can repeat technique over and over again to produce a piece of handiwork.  Or I can take some time and let my piece become my tool of communication and let it transmit a message.  

And why is that important?

It has been proven several times over how art has a positive effect on people young and old.  For students it is a vehicle used to challenge young minds to use their innovative energy rather than just following the guidelines.  It can balance them emotionally as they can use it for self-expression and independence.  It has also been used for communication and understanding during a difficult time.  It has been stated that the practice of art can improve academic achievement—enhancing test scores, attitudes, social skills, critical and creative thinking.

Providing art to a community strengthens the local economy, attracts tourism, and has a significant social impact on that community.  It inspires us, expresses our values, builds bridges between cultures, and sometimes just helps us get through difficult times with the joy and beauty it provides.  I challenge you to let art nurture and encourage you, whether you are the creator or the observer.  Take the time to exercise your soul with the boundless art experiences we offer in our community – music, theater, dance, paintings, statuary, window displays, landscaping, architecture, and on, and on, and on.  And let us be continuously thankful for the gift that is within us.