I recently discovered a paper about the arts written by my mother, of blessed memory, when she was 18 years of age. Here are a few excerpts that Bessie Walinsky wrote in 1936:
“As an omission of an ingredient in cooking detracts from the savoriness of a meal, so would life be deprived of all the aesthetic beauties by lacking in an element which makes for the complete enjoyment of life. Art is a sympathetic, inspiring, and spiritual attraction which adds to the beauty and colorful portion of domestic and foreign homes.”
“Man’s contribution towards a fuller and more complete enjoyment of life has never surpassed his discovery and use of music. Music can invade our very beings and instill us with a light and free feeling, a dark and ponderous sensation, or a laughing and felicitous mood. What more
enjoyment could one ask?”
My mom captured it so well. The arts enliven. They incentivize us to live life to the fullest. They are at the heart and soul of an emotionally and spiritually rich life. Many people are drawn to create and to express themselves through the arts – from the cavemen painting on rocks to the composers creating extraordinary symphonies and the visual artists creating complex masterpieces. To paraphrase my mother, expression in the arts encompasses the full range of human emotion and experience – from the depths of despair to unbridled joy, from sadness and fear to happiness and security, from anxiety to lightheartedness. Great works of art convey these feelings with authenticity, uniqueness, and creativity.
The consumers of the arts – the listeners, viewers, audience members, museum attendees, moviegoers, etc. – find it emotionally, spiritually, aesthetically, and intellectually rewarding to experience the works that have been created by these artists. The artists give voice to people’ feelings and experiences. And especially in challenging times such as the ones we are living in, the arts serve as a source of hope and solace for many people.
Without a doubt, the arts have been and remain a vital part of people’s lives throughout human history, throughout the entire world. May the arts continue to flourish freely and continue to be a source of strength and inspiration to us all.