When I first began my position at the Cabell Gallery I wrote a blog about the importance of art and now, almost four months later, it is still a relevant topic from another perspective. Each day as I watch my six year old daughter color, paint, craft and create beautiful pieces of art I realize how much this act of creation, of doing something she is proud of and that challenges her to be unique, helps her to grow intellectually and makes her feel special.
Lucky for my daughter and for myself, we have been fortunate to grow up in beautiful little Lexington, where community leaders and the public education system value the positive impact the arts make on small children. Here, we are blessed with after school enrichment programs, middle-school band, FAIR, Lime Kiln, the Rockbridge Choral Society and Youth Chorale, the list goes on. There are great opportunities for children to be exposed to fine art, music and theatre right here for relatively little cost and that is certainly something to be grateful for while the world continues to become more complicated.
When I think back to my childhood, I am most nostalgic for the unlimited imagination I once had that made the most ordinary tasks more entertaining. As we age this power of creative imagination becomes jaded with the harsh realities of adulthood and we find alternative ways to escape the monotonous daily routine. Many find their alternative reality in the pages of novels, while others prefer the less mentally laborious method of "Netflix and chill." From the Middle Ages through Baroque, prior to modern technologies and the immediate accessibility of entertainment, fine art provided entertainment through edifying tableaus that were inspirational and imaginative. Elaborate sculptures and architecture were created in honor of popes, kings and saints to demonstrate power while beautifying and modernizing large cities during the Baroque period. As an art history student, I understand the value of learning history through art and architecture. We read the story of contemporary culture, politics, and socio-economics through clues in each masterpiece.
Each time I visit an art museum with my daughter I see art through a totally new perspective. Specifically while in modern and contemporary museums I love to hear her interpretation of completely abstract, non-figural pieces. Many adults lack the freedom of imagination to let go of science and reality to truly understand or enjoy these pieces. Children, however, approach such pieces with their full imagination to allow their brain to construct the image in their own understanding without the pressure of feeling inadequate if their analysis is "incorrect." Perhaps to young, creative minds the potential to grow their own talent to such a masterful level attracts them to art, or maybe it's the colors and textures. No matter what draws us or our children to art and more importantly, to creativity in general, we should nourish this desire because ultimately there is always something to be learned and gained while creating or viewing art.