-by Jared Adamson
If I could be anything, what would I choose?
Maybe this is a question for preschoolers, to inspire them to dream. Maybe this is question for highschoolers, as they anticipate their futures. Maybe this is an irrelevant question as we are all predestined by genetic codes and environmental factors that current scientific trends do not yet understand fully.
Maybe. But I think, perhaps, more of us need to ponder such a question.
As a mental exercise, not too long ago, I was trying to create an exhaustive list of things that would be identified as “the arts”. And “exhausting” was the word! My list quickly grew larger than my desire to actually finish the list.
The US Government has coded like this:
National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act* (excerpts)
20 U.S.C. 952 (b) The term ”the arts” includes, but is not limited to, music (instrumental and vocal), dance, drama, folk art, creative writing, architecture and allied fields, painting, sculpture, photography, graphic and craft arts, industrial design, costume and fashion design, motion pictures, television, radio, film, video, tape and sound recording, the arts related to the presentation, performance, execution, and exhibition of such major art forms, all those traditional arts practiced by the diverse peoples of this country. (sic) and the study and application of the arts to the human environment.
20 U.S.C. 952 (c) The term ”production” means plays (with or without music), ballet, dance and choral performances, concerts, recitals, operas, exhibitions, readings, motion pictures, television, radio, film, video, and tape and sound recordings, and any other activities involving the execution or rendition of the arts and meeting such standards as may be approved by the National Endowment for the Arts established by section 954 of this title.
*This legislation, originally passed in 1965 and amended many times since, established the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
I also considered the way that different arts cross between art forms. For example, what would film be without music score? Any more, it’s not enough to just have a quality photo; you must also have a meme (including a brief form of literature). We’re told that we eat first with our eyes; so in addition to proper seasoning and ingredients, we must also present our food visually for greatest appreciation.
As my mind wandered to more and greater thoughts about the arts, I marveled of which I would choose mastery if I were to be granted one wish. Keep in mind, I am already a trained musician; but would I choose mastery of a new instrument? Dance is foreign to me; I don’t understand it, for the most part, so should I desire greater understanding? Although, if I could master a visual art, such as painting, would my life, my world, be better? But then again, would my wife be happier if I were to design a dream home (probably without a mother-in-law suite)?
To misquote, “With great talent, comes great responsibility.” Peter Parker didn’t choose his radioactive spider bite, and yet he uses his super powers for good. Would I?
-If I were a dancer, would my movements bring peace and reconciliation in my world?
-If I were a writer, would my words enhance the human experience?
-If I were a designer or architect, could I end homelessness in my city?
But then again, what is stopping me from developing a new super power? What is holding me back from exploring and conquering a new art form? Hmm…maybe that’s a song to sing another day.
Jared Adamson 10/18/2017
Jared Adamson is the Minister of Worship and Creative Arts at Centerville Christian Church in Centerville, IN. Studying voice, composition, organ and improv, he has a Bachelor of Music in Church Music with a double major in Bible and piano from Cincinnati Christian University where he later served as an adjunct professor in the music and worship department.