|The Fantasticks at Centre Theater|
Not as many, surprisingly, will say music, maybe because we had concerts in the park long before we had Arts Hill. No one seems to count live music in restaurants as "art"--I think a lot of people consider it just another perk provided by the management, equal with munchies put on the table while you look over the menu or down your drinks.
For most folks, "The Arts" is something done by professionals for the rest of us to sit back and enjoy, not something we ever participate in.
Those of us who've worked with youth know that channeling kids' creativity into the arts is the best way to keep them off the streets and to reduce our crime rate in the long run. As I heard a parole officer say just last week, criminals are some of the most creative people you'd ever want to meet. Let's focus our youth's creativity BEFORE they can become criminals.
But what about the rest of us? Are the arts only for professionals or children? Do the rest of us feel we've somehow outgrown the need for creative expression? I think it's more that we feel that creative expression is expendable--everything else in life comes first.
A few weeks ago, I started taking a pottery class at ACPPA. Now, even though I consider myself a professional writer and musician, artistic craft does NOT translate across mediums. In the visual arts, I know 4th graders who have more skill than I do. A pottery class of 6 year-olds meets right before our class--they're crafting recognizable clay elephants and cats. Meanwhile my teapot's spout keeps falling off. But I'm enjoying the class immensely. There's something very therapeutic about playing with clay for an hour. It's not a big time commitment, and the cost is cheap compared to other night classes. I'm thinking of re-upping for next semester.
So, I recommended getting out and participating in the arts in Norristown. ACPPA has been adding more and more adult classes and events. Centre Theater's production of "The Fantasticks" last summer was open to all ages. There are opportunities all over town--I'll post them as I get details. Get your kids involved, but get yourself involved, too. You'll feel better.