All the arts are a bridge to life. Whether appreciating or expressing the arts, one is the inhale while the other is the exhale!
Following a three decade career in teaching K-8 visual art, I definitely feel a connection to the arts. Musically, the clarinet has been my companion instrument in bands through the college level. My fingers play the piano ivories for personal enjoyment. I adore my Native American hoop drum and wooden flute. Surprisingly though, my current favorite art is writing. However, I feel my expertise lies in the title, “arts aficionado”. I just love all the arts! The fine arts are certainly a bridge to life!
The arts link us to our humanity. By virtue of the arts, all our lives are immeasurably enriched. I do know that thanks to the arts many students choose to remain in school. It is their joy of life, their personal way of making sense of the world.
The arts encourage an imaginative, creative mindset. No matter whether we are speaking of theater, music, visual, dance, or literary arts, each art requires a measure of the artist’s heart and personality to shine through. Yes, the arts do certainly have standards to which we adhere, but the products and productions of the artists are each as unique as the person who created it!
Bridge to a Sense of Awe
Our fifth grade art students would annually go to a large art museum a distance from our small rural school. Prior to our trip, we would study various artists, including Dale Chihuly. One year as our bus pulled into the museum lot, our students spied a spectacular glass sculpture by Mr. Chihuly. A chorus of student voices sounded like a fourth of July fireworks audience, complete with oooooos and aaaahhhhs!
Another year, our elementary students were viewing a movie in our high school auditorium. Unfortunately, I do not recall the title. I do, however, have a vivid memory of a scene with a lovely waterfall. In unison, the students exclaimed, “Aahhhhh!” Next, the camera panned to a higher, larger waterfall. This time, the “Aaaaahhhhhh” from our students was even more emphatic! Last of all was an even more dramatic and beautiful shot of the most grand waterfall. Of course, our students uttered the most amazingly appreciative “AAAAHHHHH” of all! I love to call this the triple awe moment. This spectacular reaction could be inspired by any type of art as well as nature, created by the ultimate Creator.
When such appreciative reactions occur, the exuberant participants will forever be looking for awe inducing moments in their lives!
Bridge to Rhythmic Arts
Typically, we think of dance and music when it comes to rhythm. A dance’s twists, twirls and taps bridges into a hypnotic rhythm for an audience. Likewise, an orchestra of staccato woodwind notes, kettle drum beats and quick plucky strings satisfies our rhythmic sense. What about a little boy who learns about new artists? A former student going upstairs to bed one night chanted, “Renoir, Degas, Seurat, Renoir, Degas, Seurat”, taking one step with each name. When his parents questioned what he was doing, he responded that those were the artists we learned that day. Of course paintings may have visual rhythm, but the aural rhythm of the artist’s names was what spoke to him! Then in poetry, there is the bridge of the iambic pentameter matching the rhythm of a heart beat inherent within the sonnet. The arts are a dynamic, rhythmic bridge to life!
Artistic Link to Healing
Sometimes art just speaks to a person. I had an Albert Bierstadt https://www.albertbierstadt.org/the-complete-works.html?pageno=1 painting beg me to sit on the bench before one of his breathtakingly relaxing landscapes. I’m certain my respiration and heart rate instantly reduced.
Dr. Bernie Siegel recognizes the bridge to healing that the arts provide.
- When you behave as if you are a different person, you change on a very basic level – even your physiology changes. When actors and actresses perform, their body chemistry is altered by the roles they play. Bernie Siegel
- Bernie also uses music in the operating room to help create a healing environment for patients and staff.
So many of the arts are perfect therapy for whatever seems to emotionally ail us. Here is an illustrated article on visual art therapy. It pairs various emotions with directed actions to help a person work through issues. https://www.indiatimes.com/health/tips-tricks/these-11-simple-art-hacks-can-distract-your-mind-from-negative-emotions-276141.html
What can visual arts in particular do for a person? Check out this post to see what my elementary art students gleaned from several years of art: EMPOWERED LIVING.
An amazing NPR article on a NeuroArts initiative reveals testing results of the arts while in an MRI scanner. “They had me singing, imagining singing and speaking, ” she says. “They would probably have guessed that singing would have the largest effect on my brain, but it didn’t. It was imagining singing.” https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/02/19/1081263873/mental-health-art-therapy A related link on NeuroArts gives evidence for the use of arts as medicine! https://neuroartsblueprint.org/what-is-neuroarts/
Bridge Over Troubling Grief and Truth
If you have been coping with grief, you may benefit from ERASE GRIEF, a study of a few works of art to process through your emotions. I know especially when our son was coping with pancreatic cancer, as well as after his passing, the arts have been a huge bridge to healing for me.
In today’s world of seeking for the truth, you may be interested in studying a few art works which could be interpreted quite differently according to the viewer’s perspective. It seems that our mind finds what we expect to see. Art: Reality, Grief and Truth as well as SALVADOR DALI PERSPECTIVES examine a number of works in search of truth!
Pay attention to your body while exploring various arts. Notice how you feel, read your emotions for clues. May you find the arts which speak to you as you search what brings your most monumental sense of awe. The arts, particularly coupled with imagination, can be your bridge to life as well! Just imagine!