Visit Melbourne on AFL Grand Final week and you’ll be hard pressed to find Melbourne’s artistic community. The streets are lined with four colours; two from each final team with families and groups congregating to cheer on their preferred club.
Although football is not my first love, I am proud of Melbourne’s sporting culture and Australia’s overall commitment to sport. At work, I’m surrounded by firm supporters of the arts and in fact, many of my colleagues are artists or musicians in their own right however, they still worship their favourite football team, tennis player, cricketer or the like.
Recently Artshub featured an article titled “Raising the status of the artist” by Deborah Stone. The article featured the personal views of the newly appointed Australia Council Chair, Rupert Myer on Australia’s art and culture scene. Myer believes art needs a higher profile and we need to raise the level of arts appreciation to equal that of Australia’s sporting status.
Myer says we need to “value art for arts’ sake’ and we should “be raising the profile of the artist.” He urges those with a love of the arts to be proud of the benefits that arts culture creates in the small and personal sense as well as on a broad scale.
So, how does one do this? While some may not consider themselves as artistic, most people do have some level of arts appreciation they either haven’t harnessed or simply don’t recognise, but the truth remains it does exist.
We seem to give appreciation and recognition to celebrity artists and celebrity sportspeople in equal measure but what about those who aren’t famous?
All those people for whom art, music, film, photography, writing and performance and dance are a passion work tirelessly at their craft often working part time jobs in hospitality, finance, administration and a myriad of other professions to make ends meet. Could we live without them?
We Australians are without a doubt keen art enthusiasts. Myer states “we have the best attended art galleries in the world…we have something like 15 million visits to galleries each year”.
I’m not denying we don’t love the arts but perhaps we forget to praise those who make it their life to give us all a creative outlet.
My view is that our pride and appreciation of the arts begins when we are young. Sport is so important for young people to learn team building, athleticism, health and nutrition and we all know physical education is important for our overall health and wellbeing. I would like to suggest that the arts achieve similar outcomes. Early musical training helps to develop language and reasoning skills and students of the performing arts learn to think creatively. The arts demand we maintain a sustained commitment to improve and subsequently we learn the value of commitment. Performers learn to conquer fears and take risks and so improve their self-awareness. Aside from the personal satisfaction achieved through artistic pursuits – art of all varieties makes comment on the society in which they are practiced, giving those of us who appreciate it an insight and understanding of the world in which we live.
Appreciation of the arts needs to be nurtured from childhood to adulthood – with equal intensity to sport in our schools and in community programmes. Sporting achievements that have always been traditionally seen as “cool” and quickly praised, should be recognised alongside achievement in art, music, dance, writing and performance.
Academic achievement in these subjects should be valued as highly as language, mathematics and science if our goal is to develop our young people wholly and offer them the best opportunities and skills for their lives.
Christine Grey – General Manager NIYPAA.
Christine is an educator, organizer and art enthusiast, with a profound interest in youth performing arts. A former music and art teacher Christine is now devoting her time to the Australian Youth Choir and Australian Youth Dance Theatre where she has worked for over 15 years. She is a fan of the visual arts, live theatre, drama, film and is jealous of anyone who can create movement to music.Her working life has been dedicated to the musical education of young people in the performing arts and shes loves to tell anyone who will listen about the benefits the Arts can bring to every personality at all stages of their lives.
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Go to www.niypaa.com.au
Sharing life’s experiences – singing dancing and growing up!