IDEA #38. Attend an art event: a festival, the opening of a gallery show, or even a play or concert
Arts events and gallery openings are significantly different from museum collections in that they offer the suggested and often physical presence of the artist. Such events are celebrations of someone’s creative spirit, and even if the someone is long dead, the connection between what is viewed or heard and an individual’s creative spirit becomes palpable. Moreover, such events are often designed to encourage conversation or interaction between audience and art (or at least among the audience), making them into more than just passive viewing or listening experiences.
It would be great if the child could attend the event with a friend or anyone with whom he or she can actually talk about the event, and the art, as they experience it. What is on display, or what have you seen and heard? What is the artist’s intention? How does the work make you feel? What does it make you think about? How is it like or unlike other things that you have experienced? How do viewers agree or differ in their responses to the same piece of work? If there is an opportunity to speak with the artist, what questions are important to ask, and how satisfying are the answers?
If nothing else, arts events can catalyze both the development of taste and an understanding of the ways in which people’s response to art can vary. Furthermore, a well-organized event can also teach young audiences of the power of the arts to create, sustain, and even deepen community through shared experience.
All of this is of course equally true for almost any theatrical event or performance, and it might be worthwhile to remind the young viewer or listener to be on the lookout for signs that the audience as a whole has become bonded, for the moment, into a community through the shared experience of the performance.