Why You Should Care About The Fine Arts (and Why They’re Important)

Pulse column writer, Joshua Droll, gives his enticing take on the importance of Fine Arts.

Lights. Camera. Action! The stage lights up and faces for what seems like miles appear before you. It’s a bit more than you had expected, and for a split second, you just take it all in, doing nothing. Then, with a deep breath, you speak a line, sing a note, play a solo, or display artwork that tells the story of a lifetime. This is the experience I felt in its entirety last year in my high school’s production of “Working: The Musical.” I had landed a solo role in which I was to sing a duet song with no more than 2 other people on the stage max. Stepping into that spotlight and singing is an experience that I will hold close to my heart forever. I only started my experience in the theatre department at the end of my Freshman year, but I care so deeply for the Fine Arts.
And you should too. Here’s why…
Way back in the beginning stages of man, arts started appearing: first was art in the form of cave drawings and carvings on ancient artifacts and pottery. Then there were the ancient Grecian choirs followed by (my personal favorite) the Greek theater. Finally, in the 15th century, bands in Germany began to form taking inspiration from the musical inspirations of Bach and Beethoven. “But why?” you may ask. Great question, allow me to explain.
Arts, of course, serve as entertainment and an outlet for expression. But as the famed philosopher, Aristotle, once said, “the aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Even though Aristotle specifically mentions art, the Fine Arts at large all follow that same principle. Art may sometimes just be a dot in the middle a blank canvas, but sometimes it’s more. Theatre may have moments that make you laugh and weep or weep with laughter, but each character goes through more than what they say. Music is more than notes played by a trumpet or from the vocal cords of some choir.
People of old realized that fact and they utilized itto do one thing: to tell a story. Fine Arts tell a story through creative expression. To tell a story, not through a textbook, but artistic interpretations of emotions. Those emotions imbued through song or play make stories more impactful to audiences. This will make more sense in a bit. Back to what you can do in current times. Show up. Be present.
Regardless of what side of Fine Arts you hail from or the side you care about, whatever it is, show up and support them. Even if it’s just for your kid, friend, brother, distant cousin, or John Legend, etc. Any of those performers seeing an extra face showing up for productions means what they do garners attention, it matters. Who knows? Maybe showing up will make you fall in love with a song, or a show, or a particular art style. Arts have one thing in common with reading: the more you see, the more you begin to notice little things that make it more fun the next time you come back. Alternatively, you could also join the Arts and feel the thrill of performing, but I am a little biased.
So you’ve shown up, but why is it important? As I said earlier, the Arts tell a story.
Artists like Vincent Van Gogh painted canvases to capture their view of how things were in the time they painted. For example, Starry Night pictures Van Gogh’s night. Obviously, there weren’t swirly lines in his nights and if there are swirly lines in your night sky, you have a different problem. Van Gogh painted this way, not because it was accurate, but because it expressed himself and his view of the night sky. Shakespeare wrote the way he did to break from the traditional theatre at the time. While most theatre companies did not feature on-stage violence, Shakespeare did so to heighten the interest in the story he was telling. Another thing Shakespeare did that broke tradition was that the villain of the story was never a truly bad person. Take Brutus from The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, he was not on board with killing Caesar at first, it took manipulation for him to join the cause and afterward, a moral dilemma grows within Brutus. Shakespeare wrote tragedy and betrayal like none before him because it is a story that reflects the harsh reality of betrayal in real life. If you were to just read about it with no emotion in a textbook style, that story would not be nearly as effective. Movies and documentaries achieve that same purpose: to more effectively tell a story through the artistic direction.
John Legend and John Williams make music for much the same reason Beethoven did: to express their emotions through music. Have you ever heard that one song that you can just feel? You feel the sadness or the happiness or the beat drop and it sends shivers down your spine. That’s a cool feeling! John Williams directed Star Wars music to reflect what was happening on screen and display emotions that may not be shown, John Legend creates music to speak from his heart.
The Arts tell stories that reflect the human experience. Happiness, sadness, betrayal, victory, loss, joy, grief are all emotions that humans feel, and to watch these emotions can allow one to learn lessons they might not have learned otherwise. As the famed author, Oscar Wilde, proclaimed, “life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” People can live incomplete lives. Some people will never live to see war. Some will never live to see freedom. Some people will never know about heartbreak. Some people will never know love. Life is unpredictable and cruel like that, leaving people’s stories incomplete. Art displays complete stories, for better or worse, because it is directed that way, and that is something that life can only hope to imitate. And something you and I can only hope to learn so that we might feel a complete life.
So once again, lights. Camera. Action! For your life or theirs on stage.