Tuesday, February 16, 2010

beautiful words

This is Arlene Goldbard speaking at the California Arts Advocates Visioning Retreat. Thanks, Ginny L. for the tip.

What we know in every cell of our bodies and learn every hour of the day is true. The essence of being human is to make art. We do it in red-carpeted halls and ramshackle huts, at every moment of history, every time we mark the unfolding of our lives. Even under harrowing conditions, in SuperMax prisons and concentration camps, people save precious crumbs or scrape up clumps of mud to make sculptures. They scratch on prison walls with rocks or the burnt ends of matches.

I am awestruck to think that Herbert Zipper, the founding director of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, led a clandestine orchestra in Dachau. When human history began, our ancestors circled their fires, turning their backs on the darkness to share stories of the hunt, the trek, the storm and their meanings. Today we sit in neat rows in darkened multiplexes, warming ourselves by the light of much busier and more complicated stories. But underneath, we are the same.

Torpitude is an excellent word, Rosie, but Ann wins the Cambodian cruise.


Ann said...

I'm taking Rose with me!

Arlene Goldbard said...

Thanks for quoting this, John. Like most writers, I think of the whole piece as a seamless construct. If anyone wants to read the full text, they can email me at arlene@arlenegoldbard.com.

Or download it from WomenArts (http://womenarts.org/news/feb_14_10.htm) or California Arts Advocates (http://www.californiaartsadvocates.org/news/news_2010Visioning.html).

John said...

Thanks for the link, Arlene. Really beautiful stuff.