The Sound of NO Music…

The following is an article pertaining to the cut in governmental funding for visual and performing arts. This article correlates the movie “Moonlight” to the need to keep theater arts in the New Orleans community. Enjoy!

The chills you get from the sweet sound of music, the tear you might shed from the compelling acting, the real life experience you get from the cinematography, the emotion you feel from the choice of color on the screen, none of that would exist in a world without art.

2017 Academy Award nominated film “Moonlight” tells a story about the life of a young Black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough Miami neighborhood.

“Moonlight” official movie poster.

“Moonlight” has contributed to the world of fine arts in New Orleans by showcasing it during the New Orleans Film Festival last year. In fact Trevante Rhode, the adult actor of the protagonist Chiron, is from Louisiana. If art programs get cut from schools, especially in the Louisiana area, we may loose the concept of award winning films.

President Donald Trump decided that this may be the final curtain call for visual and performing arts programs in government funded schools. Trump is aiming towards cutting government spending and believes that taking art programs out of school will be a good way to do so. But before Capitol Hill jumps the gun and takes all the paint brushes and instruments out of schools, they must see the impact it has on not only high school education, but college education as well.

“The arts engage the imagination, foster flexible ways of thinking, develop disciplined effort, build self-confidence, and instill respect for other cultures,” said Natalie Rinehart, Fine Arts chair at Benjamin Franklin High School.

Benjamin Franklin High School Theater Department in their production of “Seussical the Musical”.

“They enrich our students’ lives through self-expression and study of world art.  In addition to enrichment, numerous studies have shown how students that have experienced an art class, whether that be theater, music, visual arts or any other creative discipline, perform higher on standardized tests than those who haven’t.  We encourage students to pursue arts electives as an essential part of a balanced, well-rounded education.”

The fine arts are usually seen as the underdog in collegiate settings. Programs in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) usually get more respect and funding. Students are taught that they will be most successful if they study in those areas. But there are some resilient students that go above and beyond and obtain degrees in higher education in the arts.

“Well getting my Masters in Art to me means that I am ever-changing and cannot be set in stone. There will never be one way that my job can be done,” said Larroyln Parms-Ford, a graduate student at Columbia University. “Music has taught me to think outside the box and be the only me I can be as well as aspire to inspire.”

Cameron Williams, Junior at Xavier University of Louisiana, working on his ceramics project.

STEM careers are very important to our society, but that doesn’t mean that the fine arts are useless. In fact, obtaining a degree or training in the fine arts is not only helpful by itself, but it accompanies other majors as well.

“I believe that having the fine arts in the curriculum is essential for the development of young people no matter what their area of expertise might be that they want to go in,”  said Dr. Timothy Turner, Director of Bands/ Instrumental Activities at Xavier University of Louisiana. “The most successful students in higher education have all been involved in fine arts programs across the country. The creative process taught in fine arts involves some cognitive thinking that makes you a little bit more in tune to adapting in situations you weren’t taught in college.”

Art work displayed in Xavier University of Louisiana’s Art Village

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