The Arts as the Ultimate Voice of Humanity
By Gary Beauchamp, Supervisor of Music/Visual Arts
Have you ever been motivated by hearing a wonderful piece of music reaching inside of you - touching some untouched part of your being? Been brought to tears - if not outwardly, inwardly - upon seeing the radiant colors of a sunset or the moon in a clear night sky; been awe inspired by "shooting stars?" Viewed an artist's reproduction of a scene and felt transported to the actual location - smelled the smells, heard the sounds, felt the emotions? Have experienced a greater depth of beauty and emotion when experiencing a vista through an artist's eye than you ever had through your own personal observation?
The arts are the power of words to express our joy, sadness, love and even hate; of music to touch that place never touched before. Each of you has been touched in some special way by art - each person differently, powerfully. The power of a picture to portray that part of you hidden so deep no one else can see; to show the beauty within that had been previously unrevealed. The power of dance, theatre, music, words, and visual art to deliver a message so succinctly and thoroughly that it needs no further explanation – the total meaning and connection is instantly understood – all who experience this power are instantly motivated, seeking answers for application of the connections provided. “Arts” make us reach for the stars, seek ways to grow, seek knowledge or apply ourselves to help humanity; helping us grow not only in knowledge, but in the positive application of that knowledge; find how we can better ourselves and others.
Albert Einstein was a mediocre student until he began playing violin. Before, he had a hard time expressing what he knew. Einstein said he got some of his greatest inspirations while playing violin. Musical performance liberated his brain so he could imagine. Playing music enabled him to form important connections between seemingly unrelated facts. King George I believed he made better decisions if he listened to good music - for this reason, Handel's “Water Music Suite” was written. Plato, a Greek philosopher, believed studying music created the sense of order and harmony necessary for intelligent thought.
The ability of arts to provide valuable connections between disciplines is why most musicians are good at mathematics and most mathematicians have some musical talent, complementing each other. Arts help with knowledge of application and application of knowledge. Arts are not just a collection of facts that could save or destroy; they help make that connection with wisdom and respect to the relationship between self and the universe. This connection insures the survival of humanity.
Arts link us as human beings across the ages, so too fine arts have linked humans together despite cultural disparities. The arts of every culture use the same basic elements in a variety of ways. Despite differences between diverse cultures, arts create an awareness of commonalities among nations of men. Arts of every society arise out of the desire to communicate thoughts, ideas, and emotions; preserve - promote beauty; express feelings both positive and negative; to connect with others on a profound level. The Cherokee Indians believe humans have just as much choice in creating harmony as in creating disharmony and conflict. Choose to create harmony. Like the Cherokee, recognize beauty in life - the purposefulness of all things. We must respect everyone has a purpose to fulfill in their lifetime. Gifts have been given - unique qualities and talents await discovery within us.
The purpose of public education is to build the leadership of tomorrow and educate so informed decisions concerning the welfare of all individuals and our society can be made. A leader is a person seeing the whole picture; multi-dimensional; synthesizing random thoughts/facts and coming up with a creative solution not readily visible to others; one with a clear vision of the future; considers all the impacts an action will have on the near and distant future; who is neither afraid nor unwilling to do whatever he asks of those he leads. Knowledge of and experience with arts builds these leadership qualities.
Without the arts to focus our thoughts, communicate our desires and knowledge; we have no reason - no motivation - to improve. The arts are food for our soul – nutritious; nourishing - forcing us to grow, to be cognizant of others, to acknowledge the impact of our actions on others - this is why we are here on this earth!
We must include arts instruction in every child's education on a regular and frequent basis. Arts should be a part of each soul's development.
We, as teachers, serve in many profound ways – to impact and help others for their betterment. I include parents as teachers. Parents are the first teachers of our lives. We must choose to make a difference and help in a positive way; choose to make others' lives fulfilled and joyous. What we do in our classrooms and at home has far-reaching consequences for the future. What we do decides whether we humanize or de-humanize those of who we are in charge. Finding a passion that helps us serve others can only be found, enhanced and developed through exposure to the arts.