Last week was an interesting week - auditions for our Studio Artist Program, and then a Masterclass with high school students this past Sunday.
I am going to digress from talking about auditions per se, and instead talk about the wild disconnect that I believe exists today between"society's" perception of the arts, and the reality of it (the arts).
I had the opportunity of hearing some very talented young people, who are between conservatory training and a career. Meanwhile, I also heard some talented young high school students, most of whom are planning on pursuing careers in music, or some other branch of the performing arts.
What I find remarkable in this, is the fact that in today's world, these young people are fully aware of the fact that the arts are being devalued on many fronts - everything from the National Endowment for the Arts to Arts in the Schools are being seriously defunded. And if that weren't enough, anyone involved in the arts is, at worst, accused of having a political agenda, and at best, accused of being a non-productive leech on society.
Even if all of those factors weren't at play, there is no guarantee of riches and fame, by following this career path - indeed, it is sometimes quite the opposite.
BUT, in spite of all of that, these young people are still pursuing the dream of devoting their lives to artistic expression - because, as all of us who are involved in this know, when the spark is there, you have to follow it.
No amount of defunding, politicizing or devaluing will ever quench the need for humans to express the artistic impulse. And, if the rest of society is honest with itself, they know that.
How can I say this?
When we excavate ancient cultures, what do we look for? What do we display? What do we try to analyze? Beyond knowing how they survived, we look to know how they expressed themselves - everything from cave paintings to drums and flutes to earthen bowls - these are all the footprint of a society. And you cannot legislate that out of anyone!
Instead of being derided for following a path that doesn't offer a large financial portfolio, these young people deserve praise for the courage to pursue the dream of artistic expression. In a world where we spend a lot of time blowing each other up, attacking each other, poisoning the atmosphere, etc. etc., the last thing that should have to be defended is adding even a small phrase of beauty to the world.
And that, for today, is more important than any comment on posture, bad vowel formation, or publicity photos I could possibly make.