LeAnne Martin
Christians in the Arts

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Calvin Edwards, Part 2: Engaging the Arts

In the next few days, I'm going to be changing from the old version of Blogger to the new one. Hopefully it'll be a seamless transition but if you check in and I'm offline, you'll know why. Thanks for your patience.

Now, here’s more of my interview with arts enthusiast Calvin Edwards.

LM: Do the arts impact or enhance your daily life? How?

Yes. But not easily, not automatically. Like many others, I live a very busy, full life with many demands. Clients, staff, family, and others seem to want something all the time. In other words, my life is packed with non-arts before the arts show up. So how do they fit in? One has to make time, make space for them. I schedule time for the arts during what downtime there is.

But back to your question, does doing this make any difference to the rest of my busy, pre-programmed life? I think it does. In a manner that is hard to explain, I am a better person after an encounter with the arts. I am more sensitive, more informed, more prone to listening, more attuned to life’s nuances and subtleties. I am refreshed, re-created a little closer to God’s image.

To philosophize for a minute, if this is true, we would do well to bring the arts to ourselves every day, to seek to engage in some manner with the artistic, imaginative, and beautiful as much as possible. Though some may disagree, I think this is possible to do in the space around us, where we live and work. I recall reading of architects who wanted to create places to work that were inspiring, restful, provocative of good thinking and sound decision making. Places that bring out the best in people. Recently I read a book by a businessman who pointed out that he rents superior office space because he wants his staff to think well for their clients! These characteristics seem to be wholly absent in the modern architecture of soviet Russia and eastern Europe, but compellingly present in the magnificent cathedrals and palaces of Europe for hundreds of years.

We can, I believe, bring the same principles into our homes. I find pleasure and reward—daily, since I live there—in furnishing and decorating our home in a traditional, gracious manner. If I can’t encounter the arts every day, I want to bring them into my home so I live with them. There they soothe and inspire as they transport me away from the urgency and jagged edges of the business world.

LM: What else would you like to say about the arts?

Perhaps I’ve said too much already! But just one more thought. The arts are not some special realm for the initiated, for thespians, musicians, painters, and dancers. Shun that snooty stuff where only the initiated know why a painting that looks plain awful is deemed “brilliant.” Engage the arts where you are, with what you like, and how you prefer. The arts are a part of God’s diverse creation and bring you into the world of imagination and beauty. Go there on your own terms.

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