March 26, 2015

Why We Need Art.

Diversity dance

I have been an artist for as long as I can remember.

In fact, I believe being an artist is not simply what I do; it is who I am. I have searched for an audience since the age of three when I found a stage at my aunt’s wedding reception. I stepped onto that stage and began singing Christmas songs and, from what I remember (or have been told repeatedly), I had no fear.

I’ve always wanted to share my songs, my voice with people. Many moons later, not much has changed. And, it’s not just wanting to share my artistic abilities. I want to share my hopes, dreams, fears and daily perceptions of the world in which we live. As I grow older, the premise remains the same, but the heart of the art has deepened. I am a dancer, choreographer, singer, songwriter, writer, wife and mother. And yes, being a wife and mother can demand a performance too.

How much do you depend on art? Have you ever wondered what our world would be like without its existence? Have you ever considered what the life of an artist is like and what they contribute? These are questions I tend to ask myself as well as people throughout our community.

It is my fear that we, as a collective society, do not appreciate the arts, nor do we hold them in esteem as much as we should. When it comes time for budget cuts, far too often arts programs are the first to get slashed. However, studies have long indicated that an education in or exposure to the fine arts help increase literacy, critical thinking and social skills.

When viewing art, chances are you are going to see works that touch you deeply, or some that don’t resonate with you at all. Trust me, I’ve seen a lot of work. Some productions have induced weeping in me due to the sheer beauty and raw emotion to which I was exposed. Conversely, there have been times I have left a theatre shaking my head. This is the risk we take when attending a live theatrical event. But imagine the risks the artists are taking. My mission is to lift artists up, expose what they have to offer and let the audience experience everything that goes into creating the work.

Anyone who has cultivated a performance piece knows a secret: artists don’t simply create a work; they birth it. Blood, sweat, tears, emotion and soul go into the creation. They lay it on a platter, expose their insides and release it. It is a vulnerability like no other.

And then comes the uncertainty. The uncertainty is the not knowing if people will actually attend your performances and give your work a chance. And, if they do, what will they think? Not only are artists sending out their creation, but it is likely they have put a good amount of money into it as well.

I spoke with friends during an unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon picnic about the role art plays in our community. Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish, Adjunct Professor at Naropa University in Boulder, touched on the fact that electronic entertainment, (television, computers) play a large role in how we are captivated, and have largely taken the place of live entertainment. Ramon’s wife, Activist Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish, envisioned what life would look like in the absence of art. When determining necessary items for a post-apocalyptic world, without hesitation she indicated the need for something which facilitated beauty and creation.

She said, “Art seems as vital to life as breath.”

I worked as a professional choreographer/dancer/teacher/singer/songwriter for 16 years in Chicago which, like most large cities, is filled with art. Any day of the week, anytime of the year you are likely to find some form of live art happening. When I moved to Boulder, I had my reservations about the quantity and quality of the live scene here. I have been happily surprised by the caliber of talent the Front Range has to offer. It made me realize that no matter where you are there is likely some form of art to behold, whether it is theatre, dance, music or galleries holding little gems of visual art.

If, by chance, you’re in Denver or Boulder, you can attend Boulder Arts Week, which runs from March 27th-April 4th, 2015. For more information on upcoming Boulder Arts Weeks events visit their website. If not in Boulder, perhaps you can check out a live performance in your own town to support local art.

Consider this for a moment: art can change the world and the mind. Art can create activism and passion while igniting people to action. Art deepens our souls. As friend and choreographer Atalee Judy says, “Art sanctifies.”

Experience it for yourself!



Relephant Read: 

Body Art mixed with Environment. {Stunning Photo Series}


Author: Cindy Brandle

Editor: Caroline Beaton

Photo: Courtesy of author


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Cindy Brandle