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Ask Mr. Manners

Remembering the arts

Written by Rock Magen

As we enter the season of Fall Arts in Utah, I tend to take an opportunity to reflect on the arts in general. As a patron of the arts, I regularly enjoy the opportunity to partake in theater, dance, the symphony, and any other event which dons the guise of being creative. Now, I am not saying that for something to be an “art” that it must be a stage production but in my life, those have been the pieces which speak most vibrantly to me.

I regularly watch the Tony Awards, and I even enjoy the Kennedy Center Honors, but something that I have noticed in our world of the arts is that things are a’ changing! It seems we are having a shift from recognizing stellar achievement across a diverse and rich tradition of American arts and it its place rewarding star power and pop-culture cachet while neglecting the traditional arts which gave rise to those movements. It is becoming a much more rare occurrence to find something of a truly artistic nature and seems now that we are becoming a generation of what is entertaining in the moment. But what led to this change?

Don’t take any of this to mean I do not appreciate going to a concert or dancing to the latest hit that my apple radio demands I listen to, but whatever happened to the feeling of being in the presence of greatness which we associated with our art? I often feel entertained, but rarely do I feel that I am partaking in the presence of something truly awe-inspiring. Has our art become casual like our culture?

Indulge me for a moment. The traditional arts are recognized as classical music, opera, theater and ballet. Granted, these art forms have also become more “modern,” they still require an audience to surrender to them for an extended period. These forms traditionally require exerting the patron to adhere to a dress code and often plan far in advance to be in attendance. To attend these events was to remove yourself from your routine and be prepared for an experience. I feel that this has been lost — and currently, I am unsure how to regain it.

But, there is hope. We can all bring back the spirit of what the arts stand for. By constantly trying new things and attending new events, we are able to keep the pioneering spirit of the arts alive. This issue has a fabulous guide to the Fall Arts in Utah, and I urge each of you to try something out of your comfort zone. Who knows, you may find something new that you love! And besides, everyone loves an opportunity to dress up.

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Rock Magen

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