The Creative Community

“I believe that we are all inherently artistic,” writes Amy J. Ludwigsen of Door Shakespeare. Photo by Len Villano.

“Our history is a testament to the boundless capacity of the arts and humanities to shape our views of democracy, freedom, and tolerance. Each of us knows what it is like to have our beliefs changed by a writer’s perspective, our understanding deepened by a historian’s insight, or our waning spirit lifted by a singer’s voice. These are some of the most striking and memorable moments in our lives, and they reflect lasting truths – that the arts and humanities speak to everyone and that in the great arsenal of progress, the human imagination is our most powerful tool.

Ensuring our children and our grandchildren can share these same experiences and hone their own talents is essential to our Nation’s future. We need these young people to succeed as much as we need our next generation of engineers and scientists to succeed.”– President Barack Obama

Amidst a tumultuous month of political and national uncertainty, I am relieved and inspired to read the President’s recent proclamation recognizing October as National Arts & Humanities Month. I consider the arts and humanities to be our most powerful agent of social change and cultural awareness. When allowed to flourish, an artistic and creative community is undoubtedly a culture of potential. This “culture of possibility” as Arlene Goldbard calls it in her work The New Creative Community, is what moves our towns, cities, states and country forward. The arts spark dialogue and challenge beliefs. They provoke us to listen deeply and think critically. We find our individual voice as well as our ability to collaborate through the arts and humanities. We carry on our family heritage and our community’s story through the written and spoken word. Whether practiced or experienced, the arts and humanities connect us and move us forward.

I believe that we are all inherently artistic. Many people deny that they are creative, often negating that their work could ever be considered artistic. But I see quite the opposite. Arlene Golbard puts it best: “Today we sit in massive multiplexes, warming ourselves by the light of much busier and more complicated stories. But underneath, we are the same. Making stories, images, songs and structures is as essential to us as breathing. And how we tell our stories shapes our lives.”

This county is buzzing with people photographing, cooking, writing, painting, composing, singing, telling stories at the coffee shop, teaching, creating solutions and policy to pass legislation, creating landscapes and gardens, or drafting a plan for a home. All of this work is creative. We are all consistently designing, innovating, problem solving, and creatively propelling our culture forward.

As a professional theatre practitioner, I am so fortunate to be able to work with Door Shakespeare. I consider it my responsibility to act as a steward for the arts in the local schools and to provide theatrical experiences that entertain audiences, initiate dialogue, and illuminate the work of a literary treasure for the local community.

I get to create and advocate for the arts every day. I encourage you to do the same. Recognize that you are not as far away from the arts as you may perceive. They are not just a distant concept and their impact, though difficult to quantify or measure in numbers, is a pivotal part of our community’s evolution. Through the daily practice and patronage of the arts, we will enrich this community and empower generations to come. Keep on creating, Door County!

The Peninsula Arts and Humanities Alliance, Inc. is a coalition of non-profit organizations whose purpose is to enhance, promote and advocate the arts, humanities and natural sciences in Door County. October is National Arts & Humanities month. The Peninsula Arts and Humanities Alliance members would like to thank our volunteers, patrons, students and audience members for helping make Door County a vibrant arts community and destination.

This month, three Door County non-profit organizations will celebrate the arts and humanities and provide insight into their organizations and the community in the Peninsula Pulse.