Monthly Archives: May 2018

Photo by Jeff Sprang Photography, 2018

Why the Arts Matter

by Colleen Cook

As a graduate student studying arts administration, one of my professors posed a question that has stuck with me ever since:

“Why do the arts matter?”

The professor argued that, if we couldn’t answer that question, we should change our degree track. Every day of our professional life, we’d be answering that question in one way or another, whether we were seeking funding for a program, trying to sell a ticket to a show, or simply sacrificing higher pay in Corporate America for a meager non-profit salary. Yet, despite the fact that everyone in the room had been engaged with the arts for decades, the question is not exactly an easy one to answer.

Many of the students began to answer by sharing our own experiences with the arts. The spoke of high school musicals, favorite pieces, art shows, and friendships formed as a result of creating art together. Nearly every person shared a memory of a relationship formed through the creation or experience of art.

As we drilled down beyond “why do the arts matter to me?” the conversation turned to, “why should the arts matter to anyone else?” The conversation revolved around the economic benefits of the presence of arts in a community, what the arts can do to support education, healthcare, tourism, and business.  Every one of those conversations felt like it gave greater weight to the conversation, however, it still seemed incomplete.

Here’s why I believe the arts matter:

The arts are unique in their ability to put us in touch with our own humanity, and the humanity of others. Because the arts communicate through story, and the human brain is hardwired for story, we are able to learn and grow when we experience art – be it visual, dance, music, theatre, or writing. The arts have the power to change what we think, how we feel, and lend us a perspective outside of our own paradigm.

When we experience these paradigm shifts, we applaud it and we eagerly share that experience with those we love. (“You have to read this book/see this movie/get tickets to this play!”) The arts offer us a point of connection to those around us, a sense of belonging, and a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other. In a divided world, the arts knit us back together.

That’s something worth sacrificing for, worth tirelessly working towards, worth investing in.

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Year-long Stephen King Film Festival features Films and Symposia

This blog has been reposted from Mystery Fanfare by Janet Rudolph

Fans of Stephen King’s writing now have an opportunity to immerse themselves in his literature, studying the iconic author and the movies sparked by his books. The Stephen King Film Festival takes place in Mansfield, Ohio — the very location where one of his most famous movies based on his work was filmed. One of the most haunted and recognizable places in all of Ohio, the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield gained much of its notoriety not for its own historic past, but its role in the Stephen King novella that produced “The Shawshank Redemption.” Twenty-four years after the release of the No. 1 movie of all time (according to IMDB), King fans now can celebrate his work in Mansfield June through December, 2018.

The Festival includes screenings of some of the most renowned movies based on King’s novels and novellas at Mansfield’s historic Renaissance Theater. Each screening begins at 7 p.m. and will be preceded at 6:30 p.m. by a talk led by a noted authority on Stephen King’s writings and their impact on literature and society. After each discussion and film screening, attendees are invited to head to nearby Phoenix Brewing Company for craft beer tastings, movie trivia, and further discussion of film and literary works. The brewery offers Redemption IPA, among others.

Speakers for the evenings, held monthly with the exception of September, include professors, pop-culture experts and literary authorities specializing in King’s work, including:

  • June 21: Stand by Me, Carl Sederholm, PhD, professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Comparative Arts and Letters, Brigham Young University; Dr. Sederholm has written several articles and scholarly studies of King’s work
  • July 19: CUJO, Phil Simpson, PhD, President-Elect of the Popular Culture Association & American Culture Association, Dr. Simpson has written two books; one onStephen King’s work and another tracking serial killers through contemporary American film and fiction
  • August 16: IT, Mary Findley, PhD, a Professor of English at Vermont Technical College, Dr. Findley’s expertise includes how horror is manifested in popular culture, having written extensively about Stephen King’s work in Contemporary Literary Criticism and other scholarly journals
  • October 18: Carrie, Michael Perry, PhD, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Rockford University, Dr. Perry authored “King Me: Inviting New Perceptions” and “Purposes of the Popular and Horrific into the College Classroom.” He also co-edited “Stephen King’s Modern Macabre: Essays on the Later Works.”
  • November 15: The Mist, Patrick McAleer, Professor of English, Inver Hills Community College, McAleer authored “Inside the Dark Tower Series” and “The Writing Family of Stephen King”; co-authored “Stephen King’s Contemporary Classics: Reflections on the Modern Master of Horror” and co-edited “Stephen King’s Modern Macabre: Essays” on the Later Works.”
  • December 13: The Shining, Dr. Anthony Magistrale, Professor of English at the University of Vermont, Dr. Magistrale served as a research assistant to Stephen King and has authored dozens of academic books, articles and treatises on King’s work and the Gothic genre

For tickets and information about the Stephen King Film Festival, click here.