What was your first encounter with art?
I remember my first play, Never Come, Never Go performed in the Nevada Theater, the oldest running theater in the state. My future 4th grade teacher, Fred Forsman wrote and starred in the production. All very home town, all completely transformational as far as I was concerned. I was transfixed. I was four.
During the same time period I saw my first ballerina. She was from the Sacramento ballet performing in an auditorium in Grass Valley, the performance consisted of bits and parts of ballets probably because of the limitation of the stage size. Not glamorous, certainly not for her. But for me, ah, she was heaven in toe shoes. I signed up to take ballet the next year, when I was five. I signed up for theater classes as soon as my mother could hunt them down and enroll me.
I loved acting – I was a mermaid and wore a fish tail. I was a spinning top, I danced a polka with the only boy in my ballet class who would become a life-time friend. Did I turn either of these passions into a career? Certainly not, I didn’t have the body for the latter and did not have the stage mother for the former. But what those early experiences spawned was a life long appreciation for performance arts.
Live performances inspire me to do better or more with my own art. And they either have inspired you or can inspire you.
Do you buy symphony tickets because you played in the junior high band? Do you have season ballet tickets because you once danced? Do you travel to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to see the best and brightest perform because you once stood in the back chorus for the high school musical? Do you belong to a museum to appreciate the art and have you ever taken an art class? Do you encourage your own children to partake? Do you now understand why Glee is so popular?
Art is all about a better life, a life worth living, a life that is interesting and full. I sometimes don’t think about it much because choosing what I want to see during the SF Ballet season is automatic. I just assume that a week spent in Ashland will be a week of wonder and magic. I join the De Young so I can just walk into the museum and peruse the abundant Picasso paintings. Those early experiences created a way into life long art appreciation.
We need our artists. And if you are an artist, thank you for entertaining me and inspiring me to do and be better.