By Chase Law, Senior Development Officer
Referring to arts and culture, we’ve all heard people say, “That stuff is just fluff. It’s nice for some people, but who really needs it?” The fact is we all need arts and culture. Our lives would be empty without it.
It’s all around us, even if we don’t realize it. It’s in the clothes we wear, the décor of our living space, in books and newspapers, television, radio and so much more. How would you feel if one day you turned on the TV and the screen was blank – because there were no more writers, actors, directors? You opened a newspaper or a book only to find empty white pages – because there were no more reporters, photographers, authors? Go to your favorite boutique and the racks were bare – because there are no more clothing designers?
Arts and culture are an important part of everyone’s life and, so often, taken for granted. I don’t think we all realize that the design of a building is art or that the design of a dress is art or that novel in your bag is art. Arts and culture are vital to all of us in so many ways.
Most people find arts and culture a respite from the rigors of daily life – listening to classical music on an iPod or show tunes on satellite radio or contemporary music on the FM station in our car, gazing at a painting or sculpture, sitting in a dark theatre watching a play or movie. Some use arts and culture as a form of therapy. Some use it just to have a good time! Many classroom teachers use arts and culture as teaching tool in enhancing the curriculum. Studies show that students that have arts and culture as part of their everyday education are more likely to succeed in math, science and English – particularly those from less privileged backgrounds or low-income neighborhoods. It’s important for all of us to invest in the arts in some capacity, even if it’s just giving the children of our community the opportunity to experience arts and culture – through classroom experiences, field trips and/or after school.
And we are so fortunate to have such a vibrant arts and culture sector in our community. You’ll find something for everyone in Charlotte-Mecklenburg – from the performing arts to state-of-the-art science centers to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
I am privileged to work as a fundraising professional for ASC, raising money for Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s cultural sector. What I do during my day job allows me to take my child to Discovery Place, go to a museum, see a play or even perform in one. I know arts and culture is important to Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s community members – I saw it from individual donors in workplace campaigns, through the support of area businesses and from many personal testimonials from cultural patrons throughout the 2011 fund drive. This commitment is what helped ASC reach its overall fundraising goal this year and raise funds to continue, as well as reestablish important arts and cultural educational programs in our schools.
Our cultural community is so strong and continues to grow year after year, thanks to donors, cultural patrons and community participants. The citizens of this community want a vibrant cultural sector and their voice is being heard through their support. I would like to personally thank you for all that you do to make arts and culture the “main course” for Charlotte-Mecklenburg!