Today I want to talk about the power – and the necessity – of beauty.
This is something I have touched on before (such as our recent visit to a traveling Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit) and think about a lot (like watching the classical music scene in Shawshank Redemption, and noting the effect of music in The Pianist, Instrument of War, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and so many more stories).
Music and the Arts not only ennoble humankind, but such disciplines also empower people. Beauty equips us with the transcendent spirit that is necessary if we are going to be able to engage a world that is often savage, shallow, unfeeling, crass, brutal and tone-deaf.
It’s not just that we were created with the capacity to appreciate beauty, we were imagined, designed, and given life with an essential need for beauty, and we are diminished to the extent that we do not engage it. In that sense, beauty is more than “in the eye of the beholder,” beauty is real. Not only real, but beauty is necessary, and beauty is part of the nature of God.
Beauty reveals something of God – that is why it touches us so deeply.
We could discuss this for many pages. But this morning I’m just going to point to a couple of pieces as examples and then make a statement in support of “The Arts” as a critical component of early childhood, elementary, and teen curriculum.
The “feature” image in this post is of Rebekah holding her latest investment in art. This is the fourth painting she has purchased from our niece Jordan.
The other is of our daughter Naomi’s most recent pen and ink.
Not only do “The Arts” ennoble and elevate humanity (because they put us in touch with a key element of what it means to be created in God’s image) The Arts demonstrably expand, shape, and discipline the mental and spiritual development of children. Art, simply put, prepares young people to do better in every other area, including the sciences.
If you are a legislator or a school board member who believes you are saving money by making cuts to art and music education then you are sadly deluded. The cost, it turns out, of removing exposure to and training in beauty far outweighs the perceived savings.
So support the arts!
Here are some “to-dos”
- Plant gardens in ghettos,
- paint murals in the projects,
- play Bach in prison,
- bring Mozart to Kindergarten,
- keep art teachers and music teachers in every elementary school,
- subsidize the symphony to make it affordable and accessible,
- sponsor traveling collections of Monet and Rembrandt and Max and Picasso for middle schools,
- put Yo-Yo Ma and his cello in a high-school cafeteria during lunchtime
- have the Metropolitan Opera sing songs from Puccini in high streets and shopping malls…
You get the idea! Use your imagination. Lobby your school board. Give a child a paint set for their birthday.
Ennoble, elevate, call to the beauty that God has placed in each one of us.
Thanks, Jordan. You rock, Naomi. Keep up the good work!
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.