FINE ARTS COLUMNIST
A sad thought occurred to me the other day. I was thinking about my position in the world as an artist and that there are many tools I am truly blessed to have been equipped with. But then it dawned on me how much art is treated as an “extra” in the movie of our mere blink of a life here on earth.
Those of us who have discovered that our purpose and calling in life is to speak truth through art tend to sometimes be seen as the ones “taking the easy way out” in terms of choosing it as a college career. Well, let me tell you, if I wanted an easy major, theatre would’ve been dead last on that list.
Theatre (or any art major for that matter) can never be the easy way out for many reasons. The first of which is the social implications that come along with it, but I’ll get to that later on. I will fully admit that there are many “artists” out there who just want to have their name in lights, if you will. Likewise there are plenty of college theatre programs where the focus is just making you famous. Not here.
A truly good program in the arts teaches you every aspect of your particular art, whether you are talented in that area or not, and also prepares you for the real world.
I believe that’s similar to any major. If you aren’t learning all aspects of your chosen path and aren’t being taught how to apply what you’ve learned … well, all I can say is good luck. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve written over two hundred pages of papers analyzing play texts, playwrights, set designs, acting, and history; spent hours upon hours in rehearsals for plays that don’t get graded but are actually a required extra; stayed up until the wee hours of the morning trying to program a three-minute lighting project; and read about each type of theatre in each period of history to graduate with an “easy major.”
So, why is art still sometimes viewed as an extra in life? This is where the social aspect comes in.
That’s the humility in being a truth-teller through art; you get no recognition sometimes. Sure, there are blockbuster movies and famous singers, but there’s nothing like performing a play that really captivates an audience and leaves them feeling all of the feels, even if they never care to know my face again. That’s okay. The thing is that art is one of the most essential aspects in a human’s life!
However, people tend to forget about art. Think about it. God only creates what is necessary. If art is an extra, why is the earth so beautiful? Well, sure, there are a plethora of scientific reasons, but they still add up to something spectacular and beautiful, right?
Science is in art, there’s no denying that. You don’t have to be some super abstract person who hates science and math to love art. Actually, just the opposite is true. Logic, reasoning, math, and science are essential to our art. The difference is that a lot of artists work with them instinctively and forget they’re there, just like the rest of the population forgets that art is needed in their lives too.
I think I am also realizing that this stigma that artists are the silly little dreamers of the world won’t every really change. It’s part of what gives us thick skin. It takes a lot of heart, brains, will-power, courage, talent, and strength to live this life, and all for the purpose of bringing joy to others and inspiring realness and truth. Sure, I may struggle with money because of this path, but why would I spend my life just making money? That’s a dull and meaningless life, I think.
Money for material things is the extra in life, but art (along with the sciences) is the key to actually living. I would rather live for a short time with art than live forever with money and no art, because that’s not even living.