I try every year to watch the Annual Kennedy Center Honors program. I recorded it on my DVR this year and just finished watching it. I don’t know exactly why the arts have become such an important part of my life, but over the years with thanks to numerous friends with a variety of interests and tastes for art of all kinds, I have found myself to be an enthusiastic observer.
The arts are of incredible importance to civilized society. A society without an appreciation for the creativity of its members is a society dead to life itself. I, for one, am eternally grateful to the Kennedy Center for sharing and promoting the artistic talents of so many who have blessed our sights, sounds, and presence through the years. To me it is a sacrilege to watch elements of our government consistently try to cut funding for the arts. The arts feed us in a way nothing else can. Only government can truly provide the broad base of funding necessary to insure a continuing presence of the arts for all. Of course private funding, through such programs as the Kennedy Honors, provide by far the most significant support. But without our government acknowledging their importance the arts are continually challenged for their survival.
This year the celebrants were: Carlos Santana, Martine Arroyo, Herbie Hancock, Shirley MacLaine and Billy Joel. (Photo Courtesy: John Paul Filo/CBS via Getty Images.) It would be easy to overlook the contributions of these artists by thinking, “been there, done that,” but I knew as soon as the program started that I would have missed an iconic event. To have the display of the talents of these gifted persons all in one place at one time is a joy to behold. If you did not see this program, I strongly suggest you avail yourself of one of the after markets for programming such as Hulu, Amazon or others, and reward yourself with the wonder of creativity. You can find out more about the program here:
Coming to realize how much music, theater, movies and art of all genres has come to mean to me has, at the same time, left a tremendous ache in my heart for the lack of my ability to personally express some form of art. A friend reminded me recently that I could still learn to express artistic talent in some way. I could learn to play an instrument, or sing or paint. My response was to reject the notion, citing my obvious difficulty learning the subtleties of those forms of creativity. The one area I seem to have left for creative expression is my writing. Even if it never was important to anyone else, being able to express whatever talent I have in this way is very satisfying and gives me a sense of productivity. That is another insight the arts offer us—a glimpse of the productivity of the creative spirit in wondrous ways!
So this becomes my message for the New Year: Rejoice in the arts and to whatever extent you are able, share your own creativity with the rest of us!