Arts Week celebrates the ‘aha!’ moments that change our lives | Opinion

Mia Henley, Guest Columnist
Published: 4:00 a.m. | December 6, 2020 | The Daily Memphian

“Who knew?” It's a phrase we have all uttered this year. 

Who knew “Zoom” would be a word used daily?

That 75-plus seniors would create phenomenal abstract paintings, and learn to write, and play the dulcimer — online? 

That older adults would form new friendships through their online class communities?

Who knew that talented local musicians would move around four sides of a single building, engaging seniors on balconies as high as the 8th floor, to ensure that each community resident was lifted up by music? 

That transformative experiences sometimes take place in our own backyards?

Who knew, in the middle of a global pandemic, how deeply the arts would connect, build, awaken us to what is good now, today, in Memphis?

We knew — and my guess is that you did, too.

Creative Aging is one of hundreds of arts organizations that help create the dynamic cultural community that is Memphis. Along with many other of those organizations, ArtsMemphis helps fund our work. 

And so much more. 

ArtsMemphis encourages all local arts organizations to advocate, connect and inspire our individual and collective audiences, creating opportunities for the “aha!” moments that transform our lives.

Have you noticed — and experienced — the arts here, now?

  • Public art installations inspire awe in Overton Square.
  • Jazz concerts build community at Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library.
  • African American artists in the Memphis Brooks Museum’s permanent collection are on view now.
  • Children are transformed by the beauty of the Carpenter Art Garden.
  • Award-winning dancers emerge from New Ballet Ensemble.
  • Teens learn life’s lessons from Tennessee Shakespeare Company.
  • Musicians spark smiles at GPAC’s Grove.
  • Some seniors experience theater for the first time at Theatre Memphis.

For all of its diversity, Memphis’ arts community is united by the collective impact the arts make: Every note of music, leap of dance, or spoken word; each stroke of paint, click of lens, or word of instruction, offers our citizens inspiration, connection and a bridge to community. 

What could be more important?

Thank you, ArtsMemphis, for being behind it all. 

Thank you, Memphis, for keeping the arts strong. 

Join us in celebrating Arts Week Dec. 7-13.

To celebrate the work artists and arts organizations have created in 2020 despite the pandemic, ArtsMemphis is introducing its inaugural Arts Week Dec. 7-13. ArtsMemphis provides grants to 70 arts organization, and this year supplied emergency funds to individual artists.

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