I've returned from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, where the weather was unseasonally cold, gray, and dreary, not at all the beautiful days at the lake that I had been hoping for. But it was a wonderful visit with friends and family, as well as a chance simply to relax and be away from home for a few days.
On the drive back through Indiana, somewhere near South Bend, I noticed a billboard for a regional website www.artseverywhere.org. I know most of my readers won't be attending any of their events, but I do love the fact that the site exists and has such a great name. Art is (and should be) everywhere around us, and it only reinforced one of my original goals of this blog: to share more information about the arts in greater Cleveland. So I'll be redoubling my effort to find local events, and I ask you to send along any events that you find particularly worthy as well.
I heard Garrison Keillor quote Ben Jonson today, "Art hath an enemy called ignorance." In troubling economic times, arts organizations can struggle for funding to the point that their existence is threatened. Schools focus on the "core curriculum" and trim music and art budgets. That only reinforces the importance of church music. Some of the greatest musicians of all history were church organists, J.S. Bach being the most prominent. Gregorian chant gave rise to the earliest systems of written music. Furthermore, Vatican City is bursting with some of the greatest sculptures and paintings of history.
It's not only Christianity that has inspired great music and art, of course. The temples of Ankar Wat, the pyramids of Egypt, the calligraphy of the Quran - art and religion have a symbiotic relationship around the world. The arts can inspire and educate us, buttressing our faith with liturgies and hymns. Those are good reasons to sing out on Sunday morning and for me to get back to work planning for this Sunday's services. See you in church!