Black History Month: The importance of art

Black History Month is an opportunity for education, commemoration and celebration for all Americans. This year’s theme is African Americans and The Arts. The more you know and understand about people and cultures that are different than your own, the better off we all are in life.  It also acknowledges an important aspect of our country’s history that needs to recognized  and understood — now more than ever. 

The arts have been a part of my life since childhood and continue today. I grew up in Dayton and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company was huge at that time.  DCDC is a nationally-known African American dance company; I felt proud that they were a part of Dayton’s strong African-American arts scene.  I only got to see them a couple of times, but I remember they made me feel proud. 

Now, I love going to art museums and listening to music, especially Jazz.  Currently, I am listening to Yussef Dayes an English drummer and composer.  But it’s not just music that I appreciate. I attended Final Friday at the Cincinnati Art Museum last week and was introduced for the first time to the renowned painter Charles White, an African American artist who was one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century.  His art was amazing and I did not even know about him before Friday.

I think art helps us relate and connect to one another in unique ways, it preserves history, it can be an outlet for people to express themselves, and can also offer perspective and understanding that we couldn’t achieve with just words.