This week I’m excited to announce a new occasional feature on the blog: the roundtable. Some weeks, instead of interviewing just one artist or art expert, I will talk with a few people, both artists and art enthusiasts. These posts will have a roundtable discussion feel. If you’re interested in being included in one of these discussions, please email me.
Please also note that the roundtables will not replace the weekly features of artists. They will allow me to interview more people and keep the blog fresh.
Today, I’m talking to a poet, a creative services director at a PR firm, and an executive who works with philanthropists to “maximize the good of giving.”
LeAnne: Why do you think should Christians care about the arts?
Jeanne Murray Walker (poet, playwright, essayist, professor of English): The arts get below the surface. We live in a materialistic society and we see the surface of things. Most art (opera, painting, dance, etc.) is really about love, death and human longing. It gives us good, rich, deep questions. The arts are always surprising, not clichéd. They offer a new way of seeing things.
They also create camaraderie or community. They bind people who are unlike together, like when we see a movie and talk about it afterward. Or when we see a ballet, we are together with the dancers and the audience. Or when we read a novel and think, ‘This author knows! I’ve had that experience, too!’
These are very biblical principles—creating community and getting below the surface.
LM: Why do you love the arts? Have you always loved them?
Mart Martin (creative services director of PR firm): I loved to draw as early as I can remember. In fact, I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I participated in chorus and plays at school and church from elementary through high school. And being raised just a few blocks away from a university with an exceptional fine arts program -- Southern Miss -- I was exposed at en early age to live theater and the symphony. All of those interests have carried over into adulthood.
There's much to love about the arts, but I think it's that common thread of beauty that attracts me most. Beauty is one of those rare things that comes close to perfection. And it offers us a glimpse into Heaven. The idea that there are colors we haven't yet seen and notes we haven't even heard just blows my mind. The fact that we can get a taste of that through the arts is fascinating and extremely satisfying to me.
LM: Do the arts impact or enhance your daily life? How?
Calvin Edwards (executive who works with philanthropists to “maximize the good of giving”): 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.