By Jensen, Randy on June 12, 2020.
Allied Arts Council
Imagine a community without the arts. It is without murals, without sculpture, and without colour. It is without singing, concerts, or music. It is without dancing, or acting, or festivals. There are no theatres or galleries or places to draw, paint, write or play. Would you visit? Would you want to stay?
The arts have value, not just in terms of economic value, but also of value defining a community’s identity and of its citizens’ legacy. The arts improve quality of life; affecting all aspects of enterprise and industry, of sport, and the health of its people.
Perhaps at its simplest and broadest form, the arts provide entertainment. Good entertainment affects happiness and improves well-being. Lethbridge has many arts entertainment opportunities from which to choose. From New West Theatre performances to concerts at the Enmax Centre, to drama productions at the University of Lethbridge, box offices across the city are never short of events to promote. There’s excitement when the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra announces their next season or when the concert line-up for Whoop-Up Days is announced.
The arts promote discussion; they allow us to celebrate our cultures, define our place in history, and support progress towards a better future. The arts engage us in meaningful debate, emphasizing and exposing aspects of our society we believe are important. Walking through an exhibit at the Trianon Gallery, at SAAG or The Gallery at Casa allows us to engage with art that may evoke any number of reactions. Ultimately, they inspire greater awareness and may even spark further curiosity.
The arts enhance education. By providing an outlet for creativity, children are more confident, better problem solvers and more effective team players. There is an abundance of arts education opportunities in the city, from the University of Lethbridge Music Conservatory to the Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp, to the dozens of art classes offered at Casa.
The arts also provide an outlet for life-long learning – engaging people of all ages to pick up a paintbrush, an instrument, a script or even a pair of knitting needles. The arts improve the connectedness of a community by teaching and sharing our art with others.
A city that supports its artists understands the impact a thriving arts industry has to improve its overall economic health. Supporting the arts community doesn’t just impact artists; it affects the managers, curators, technicians, and educators that support those artists. It also impacts businesses that are either directly or indirectly supported by arts initiatives.
Imagine a community that is improved by the arts. There are murals and sculptures and colour. There are songs, concerts, and music. There is dancing and acting and annual festivals. There are theatres, galleries, and a place to draw, paint, write and to play. This is a community people want to visit. It’s also a community where people want to stay.
Amanda Berg is past president of the Allied Arts Council