|Figure skater Kim Yu Na
And what about arts literacy? Are we really teaching school kids to not just analyze poetry, but to recognize its inherent beauty, and its importance as a conduit to our emotions? Forget dance education! When I was in elementary school we had square dancing. I don't recall any conversation about historic dance leaders like Martha Graham or Merce Cunningham.
But the recent Winter Olympics got me to thinking about accessibility. Most sports are easy to grasp, right? Football is about scoring touchdowns; ski racing, or track or rowing or cycling, are all about speed. The winner is the first to cross the finish line. Then there are the less transparent sports, like figure skating. Why did a young Russian win the gold medal, when so many thought South Korean champion Kim Yu Na delivered a lovelier and more artful performance? The judging is subjective. In other, triter, words: beauty was in the eye of the beholder.
With art, it's not necessarily about beauty, but about the artistic intent of the work. How important is it that audiences grasp that intent? Personally, I like to have some idea why I'm listening to or watching something. And often, I really am at a loss. I'm not saying that artists need to be less subtle, or more simplistic. I just have to find a way in somehow, even if it's just a consciousness of my response to something. I'm curious about entry points into art. How important is that at the outset of the artistic process? How important should it be? And would it help develop the arts audience?