One of the most thoughtful minds in the public discourse is Charlie Rose. From his PBS program to his CBS reporting, he is able to constantly shine a new light and different perspective on art, politics and the top stories in the news cycle.
When speaking on the passing of the musical artist Prince he uttered some words that put a great deal into perspective for me. To paraphrase he said, “Culture is what defines us which is why the passing of artists affect us so much.”
These are such powerful words to me – especially since my current worldview seems to be so focused on arts and the work that is needed to make arts and culture relevant in the communities we live and everyone in between who creates and embraces the artistic journey.
Thinking more deeply about this comment, the passing of politicians and business people are rarely celebrated in the same way our musicians or actors are. Even athletes do not seem to be celebrated in the same way as artists.
Perhaps its because athletics, business and politics are a win-lose proposition and in most cases capture a specific moment in time, but arts stay with us and evolve over time. A song, book, poem or painting may have several different meanings to you over a lifetime, while a movie or theatrical production can impact you in a great many different ways.
Events and festivals are the manifestation of culture in a communal experience. Where else can we celebrate the things that are special about our neighbors, our community and us? When you’re wondering why we spend the immense energy and resources we do to produce our events, exhibitions or performances, I hope you can take a moment to reflect on the importance of the work we do.
Culture defines us. These three words must stay with us for their power and their simplicity.