I firmly believe that it’s worth the time and expense to experience great art – whether it be in the theater, a museum, a concert, a film, or even a rich novel. Last week, I had the rare privilege of seeing two fabulous shows and walking through the DIA Museum of Modern Art in Beacon, New York. The first experience was in Las Vegas, practically holding my breath and trying not to break into dance through 90 minutes of the Cirque de Soleil Michael Jackson show. I have no words to describe the glorious combination of film, music, lighting, amazing dance, and perfect sound that our Arts Coaching Circle sat through together. When the 90 minutes was over, I immediately wished I could see it all over again because there is no way a person could catch the myriad of beautiful details and absolutely right artistic choices made to craft that show. At the end, the audience was invited to stand to their feet and sing along. This allowed all of us to do what we had been dying to do since the beginning!
I also had the chance to sing with another audience on Broadway at the close of “Beautiful”, the musical based on the life of Carole King. The Tony-winning performance of Chicago actress Jessie Mueller was spectacular. This audience was filled with Baby Boomers like me, including many of us who memorized the lyrics to every single song on the Tapestry album back in college. My major moment came when Jessie sang the anthem, You’ve Got a Friend. As I reflected on why that moment brought me to tears, I realized that the lyrics captured for me everything I believe about friendship. “Winter, spring, summer or fall…all you have to do is call.” That’s the kind of friend I have aimed to be, someone who shows up when needed. Carole King’s song cemented that commitment in me for treasuring friendships, decades ago. Then at the close of the musical, after the bowing and hooting and hollering for more, the cast allowed all of us to sing along with I Feel the Earth Move. My daughters, though part of entirely different generation, walked out checking out some of the songs on iTunes and grateful for the inspiring artistic experience we shared.
Two days later, walking through the DIA Museum, I saw artistic work that stretches me, expanding my imagination, stirring up new ideas, appreciating color and texture and form. While I am far from an expert on modern art, I felt uplifted by the work of those artists.
Last week was a rare dive into several artistic experiences. My question for you is, when was the last time you sacrificed time and money for your own creative soul? We cannot possibly measure the benefits of filling our minds and hearts with well-told stories, new images in painting or sculpture, music that moves us deeply, and dance that stirs up praise for the wonder of the human body. No matter where you live, you can find an experience to lift you creatively. I promise you it will be worth it!