Friday, May 29, 2009

Arts in the Schools? Yes, we could...

Lately I'm amused when I hear the same old tired traditional call for more arts in the schools coming from artists.

A musician friend recently posted something on Fakebook to this effect, and of course lots of musician friends rallied round the tired old flag of apathy and blame.

I commented that the artists could just quit bitching and show up in the schools, and the thread died a sudden, chilling death...

For over a decade I have been asking musicians in my community to share an hour of their Time and Talent with folks in Community Venues - places like senior and nursing homes, and facilities for our disabled Fellow Beings. I've spent some time in the schools, when asked, but this has not been my focus.

And, for over a decade, most musicians in our community (claim they) have not had time. These are the same folks that are always up to play a free show for the victims of a natural disaster thousands of miles - or half a world - away. They always have time to open a friend's CD release show for no charge at the local acoustic club for the designer beer crowd. They always have time to busk on the downtown mall for a few bucks, if that.

But they never have time to share their music with folks that... well, with folks that do not have any money for them, I guess. Money, and ego currency, maybe...

I've been watching it for eleven years, this blatant audience discrimination coupled with blatant apathy and indifference. I can understand the lack of desire in the Community Venue arena, because there has never been a societal cry to "get more arts into senior homes, nursing homes, or in front of disabled folks". Those perceived "Poor Others" are problems, and obligations maybe, but they are not Opportunity.

But I've been hearing cries for more arts in the schools since I can remember.

And lately I am struck by the reality that most artists do indeeed have a great deal of free time, and I find myuself wondering when they might quit bitching about What Is and simply go live their dream. You know, if you dream of arts in the schools, then bring arts into the schools. An hour a week, or a month, is better than your repeated hollow cries from a distance.

If every artist in our town donated one hour a month, there would be several thousand hours of arts available to our schools every month. THOUSAND. Several thousand hours.

Liekwise, if every musician in our town would share an hour every three months in Community Venues, there would be well over 1,000 hours of music available each quarter. That's well over 4,000 hours a year.

We would not be able to place them all, without overwhelming the facilities, and the schools.

It would be perfect.

All it requires of course is action. Personal action, Nike style - Just Do It.



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