Music by the composer Steve Reich is a favorite of mine when processing photos, as it tickles my brain with unique sounds, fascinating instrumentation, and no discernible harmony or melody. Reich has been on the forefront of American music and is known as a founder of the minimalism movement along with Philip Glass and Terry Riley. I recently had the opportunity to hear a concert he curated at Carnegie Hall that featured the JACK Quartet and Bang on a Can All-Stars. It was one of a series of concerts designed to celebrate three generations of new music composers. Experiencing the music and listening to the discussion by the composers that followed reminded me of the importance of the exploration of the arts and how they are a testament to our times.
As you pause to notice something beautiful each and every day, I challenge you to engage in various art forms be it music, theatre, poetry, visual art, or some other creative expression that speaks to you. In so doing, reflect on what they mean to you as a human being.
It is easy to place art in a category of unnecessary fluff, but as I have learned through my “Flowers for Mom” exercise of pausing to photograph a flower every day in honor of an Alzheimer’s journey, we must live as humans being, not merely humans doing. The arts help us do exactly that.
As Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney who was a sculptor, art collector, and founder of the Whitney Museum once said, “Art is an ascending or descending scale, the spirit of its joy reaches us in unexpected ways.” Include the arts in your life by engaging in them, supporting them and celebrating new work being done to document our unique time in history.
What will you pause to experience today? Dew on the bloom of a strawberry plant, a drawing by a child, music that makes your heart sing, a live performance, or something else? Go on about life as a human being and celebrate it. My mother would certainly tell you to do exactly that.