LeAnne Martin
Christians in the Arts

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Roundtable 3: Why Do You Love the Arts?

In this week’s Roundtable, I’ll be talking again with both Sandra Glahn, fiction writer, teacher and speaker, and Calvin Edwards, an executive who works with philanthropists to “maximize the good of giving.”

LeAnne: Sandra, let’s start with you. Why do you love the arts? Have you always loved them?

Since I can remember I have loved the arts, and I hate that so many of today's fine arts--opera, symphony, museums--are inaccessible to those in lower economic groups.

I grew up in Oregon's lush Willamette valley in a modest home that sat on five acres. The two living room windows looked out on Mt. Hood in one direction and the Willamette River in the other. We sang on car trips, and Mom read us great stories. I remember my dad singing me to sleep at bedtime playing the autoharp. Going to the library was a weekly event in the summer.

Then when I was ten, Dad volunteered for a transfer to Washington, D.C., because he wanted to expose his five kids to culture. So for the next seven years we went to free Juilliard String Quartet concerts and National Geographic lectures and Smithsonian tours. My favorite attractions were Jefferson's Monticello (so much creativity!) and the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, where we watched money being made.

By the time I hit ninth grade, I'd had a year of piano and seven years of viola. Every kid in my family played an instrument, and we'd attend each other's endless concerts and we'd also have hootenannies with other families. (As grown ups, we turned out to be a musician, a curator, two teachers and a writer.) We didn't think of ourselves as creative types. We just loved music and history and problem-solving, and we played outside instead of watching a lot of TV (though we complained bitterly at the time). And we watched our mom sketch during afternoons on camping trips. The arts were not a separate category in our lives. They were interwoven into everything we did. They were just "normal."

On Thursday, we’ll hear from arts enthusiast Calvin Edwards about how and when he came to love the arts.

Coming soon: an actor and a photographer


The Aesthetic Elevator said...

FWIW, if I were asked this question I don't know if I could answer any more than "I'm just built that way." God has given all of us certain interests, gifts, and I feel as though I can't help but pursue my sculpture. Just like my wife can't help but be drawn to words and literature. And, frankly, why would I try to do things outside of these interests unless I felt so led. As a person I'd be less happy, less successful and less of an attribute to my community and the Kingdom.

LeAnne Benfield Martin said...

I feel the same way about my writing and literature. I like to ask that question of arts enthusiasts (not necessarily artists) because I want to know what compels them to purposefully bring the arts into their daily lives. I have received some fascinating, thoughtful answers that I'll be posting soon.

Thanks for reading.


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