The College of Fine Arts is beginning the 2017-18 academic year with a simple message: Now is a time for the arts.
The arts have long been a vital part of the human experience. Whether watching the Kabuki of Japan or classic ballet of France, taking in works showcased at MoMA, or absorbing the distinctive sounds of jazz, the act of engaging with the arts provides us an opportunity to examine our lived experiences and encourages us to be more creative, more observant and more aware.
Cultures and societies continue to look to the arts for ways to express both individual desires and collective hopes. The arts remain a way both to process private fears and to work through public vulnerabilities. The arts provide a platform not only to respond to what has happened, but also to engage with what is going on in real time. The arts are a means to evaluate a past, navigate a present, and propose a future. Above all, however, the arts bring individuals together, literally, into a common space for a shared moment. At a time when division and volatility remain an overshadowing presence in too many places, we pause to remind our communities, our leaders, our children and ourselves that now is a time for the arts.
Now is a time for theatre. It is a time to share stories, building understanding and encouraging empathy.
Now is a time for music. It is a time to celebrate emotions and connect with each other through song.
Now is a time for dance. It is a time to look to the human form as a medium for discourse.
Now is a time for art. It is a time to pursue curiosity in ways not easily captured by words, melodies or movements.
So, let us dedicate ourselves to coming together at a favorite arts venue in the coming months. Let us have conversations about what was just experienced there. Let us find elements that engaged us, and talk about what did not. Agree. Disagree. At a minimum, let us put down the technology that often keeps us isolated from one another and connect with someone nearby. Let us remember that now, and always, it is a time for the arts.
We hope that you will join us in ushering in another vibrant year within Western Michigan University’s College of Fine Arts, reveling in the many relationships the arts afford us not just on campus, but locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.