Since I started this site, I have been trying to get my hands on everything art-y that I can. Well, I had picked up a copy of the Theatre Bay Area magazine for March (it’s the one with the blue cover, orange was Feb.) from the great independent bookstore, Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park. It’s a beautiful day, so I sat outside and began to read the issue. While the activity was enjoyable, it didn’t last too long because I only got to Brad Erickson’s Executive Director’s Note.
I had to rush home because when inspiration strikes I have to work with it as soon as I can. On my first post Hello world! in January of this year, I explained that I would LOVE to help out all of the Arts because the decline was being felt across the board and not just in theatres. Well, the Note gives some of the actual numbers of this research. I find this research is bitter sweet because while the Arts are declining, the act of reading literary works is rising among people 18-24 years of age. So there is an upside, sort of.
I was lucky to have some sort of Arts programs in the elementary and middle schools that I had went to. And as I said in the podcast, I feel exposure to the Arts while growing up is an important factor in appreciating them. Usually, that exposure inspires people to create. It turns out that those that get involved in the Arts are more likely to attend them as well. So it’s a huge cycle. Mr. Erickson gives a great comparison of sports. As a kid they are placed into some sort of little league sport which gets them watching sports, and continuing to play them throughout middle and high school, even college where some pro athletes get made. He follows this up with a brilliant paragraph that made me speed back to Campbell and begin writing for episode 2 of the podcast. And for this short blog post. OH, here’s some of what that paragraph said:
“Can theatre and other traditional arts take a cue from the world of sports? Can we build a seamless continuum of participation that recognizes the the kinship between the youthful thespian, the middle-age community theatre star, the high school drama teacher and the Equity actor?… Can we be honest about the prejudices we hold for other art makers in our own discipline? For the way professionals sometimes not so secretly discount the work of educators, of children, of “hobbyists”? About the way theatre artists sideline the work of colleagues working in unlike genres or venues: large-budget theatres vs. small-budget, new work vs. classical, “edgy” vs. “entertainment”? Can we authentically and respectfully welcome a broad spectrum of theatre engagement motivated by our shared passion for the power of this art form to reveal – in ways both silly and profound – our common humanity?”
So many things to think about just from that one little paragraph.