In history classes, we learn about sweeping tragedies, revolutionary changes, and brave heroes. But what has always interested me more than the bloody details of wars of the past is the art that has come out of different eras in history.
Art is a reflection of the culture, and so with any big changes, we often find huge advancements in arts as well. I’m not just referring to paintings and sketches. Art encompasses music, dance, literature, theatre, opera, etc.
When I look at modern art today, I can’t help feeling like something is dying. It may not be so much that quality of art is declining, because I do not believe it is. Where there’s talent and creativity, there will always be innovative art. However, something has been lost, and I believe it has a lot to do with the changing audience of the world.
Will we ever again have a period of huge advancement in the arts like the Italian Renaissance, or the Neoclassical period? I can’t help but feel doubtful that any new glorious eras of artistic development are going to occur anytime soon. Why? I just don’t think as many people appreciate art at the same level as they once did, particularly the youth.
As a training dancer, I have seen firsthand the effects of the loss of support and enthusiasm in many forms of art. Lots of people pursue dance and music as a hobby, but many also want to make their practice into their career. How can they do this when there are fewer spots in dance companies? How can they possibly secure a job when orchestras, ballet companies, and other arts organizations can barely scrape together the finances to pay them?
There are still exciting changes happening in the realm of art, but many people don’t even realize it. In other parts of the world, like in Europe, there is larger support for traditional art forms. Some artists even ascend to celebrity status, like Italian ballet star Roberto Bolle.
In America in particular, young people are not usually exposed to these traditional art forms. The spotlight has been moved exclusively to new pop music, or film and TV stars.
I believe that if people kept an open mind about art, they would appreciate it more. Instead of immediately assuming that ballet is boring, or that all concertos are the same, expose yourself as much as you can to a variety of art. Creations of art might not stop wars or fix the hundreds of debilitating world problems, but what they can do is build a generation of empathetic, innovative individuals.