Written By: Jan Allan Zarr, SKyPAC Executive Director/CEO
This is evident in how well designed programs in the arts have boosted academic achievement and nurtured the development of well-rounded students and the community within. Playwright, Wendy Wasserstein stated “The arts reflect profoundly the most democratic credo, the belief in an individual vision or voice… The arts’ belief in potential gives each of us — both audience and creator — pride in our society’s ability to nurture individuals.”
The commonality that statement brings is the value and belief that the Arts are important to us, to our lives and to our community. The Arts inspire creativity in each of us individually; however, they breathe life into our communities. What we know to be true, throughout history, is that the Arts — all of them, evolve and reinforce beliefs and values in all societies. The Arts draw out from each of us the creativity from within to explore the possibilities as a whole. The Arts challenge, inspire, and change people because audiences are encouraged to answer questions about life, the world and the legacies they are creating.
The role of the heart of an Arts Center should be to create transformational art education opportunities for students of all ages in the community. An Arts Centers purpose is to capture the essence of the community, through multi-media experiences that communicate, educate and transcend ethnic cultures. The Arts Center should openly teach us that we are inherent sources of innovation and that we can dramatically contribute to a community just by discovering what we create best-and then doing it! It does not have to be great theatre, dance, or a masterful painting-a child exposed to the Arts learns skills in creativity and self-expression that might just lead him/her to develop a new vaccine or a ground-breaking world policy that leads to a more peaceful planet. The Arts are not superfluous to society; they are an underestimated force that is moving it forward, therefore the Arts Center needs to become the core of that force within the community. When one visits an Arts Center either for an art exhibit or for a performance they should feel awake, alive, and lucky to be there.
One should also look at how our community values its partnerships in the Arts. The value of the Arts to the community is a very personal statement. It means something different to each of us. For me it means working together to leverage limited resources, broaden inclusion, increase accessibility, and provide opportunities for everyone at a collaboration level in making a difference for all involved. The value comes by showing empowerment and enriching the lives of those that are served and by strengthening the community in which we live. Another value in partnerships is that they foster and create sustainable relationships within the broader community. A Community partnership approach sparks networks that allow participants to better realize common goals. These connections form pathways for knowing and sharing social, cultural, and material capital through community building that supports personal, social and institutional change.
Former President John F. Kennedy stated, “I see little of more importance to the future of our country and of civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his/her vision wherever it takes him/her.”