Many years ago when my son was college-age, we spent an afternoon at the Chicago Art Institute together. At that time he was leaning toward forestry as a career, and I was working at a child welfare agency. We had always had an excellent relationship, and it had seemed that we had understood each other pretty well. But that day at the Art Institute changed the way we comprehended one another.
He would pause before a painting and look at it for a while. I would say, “What do you like about that painting?” He would tell me that he didn’t really know; it just moved him in some way. It seemed to tell a story that he could feel, that he could relate to.
I would stop before a painting or a drawing, and look at it for a while before moving on. He would ask me why I stopped at that particular work of art. I would tell him that I was looking at the design and the artist’s rendering of details. I wanted to try and remember the method by which the artist created this picture in case I might want to try it sometime.
We discovered that we “saw” works of art in very different ways. I have never forgotten that day. Many times since, I have thought about it when my son and I talked together. We were so compatible, and yet so different. He went on to a career as a successful psychologist. In addition to my day job, I developed skills in the graphic arts and became a bit of a computer geek.
Arts of any kind, whether visual, music, drama, literature, film, or something else, seem to be part of who we are as human beings. The Arts are a way that we can understand one another no matter how differently we think, a way that we can come together and get a glimpse of another’s thoughts and the way another person’s mind works.
How can we NOT support the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts!?!