Monday, November 21, 2011

Eternally Thankful for Beauty

Bruce Aiken and me, in front of one of my favorite pieces at "It's Elemental"--Ryan Lamfers: "A Feeling of Discontent."
It's Thanksgiving week.  What am I thankful for?  So many things...

I took a friend to the NAU Opera performance of "Albert Herring" last Saturday night.  I had an extra ticket, and put a call out on Facebook.  I was gratifyingly surprised that my friends were so responsive, and even had a little bit of competition over who got to go.  (I'm thankful that my peeps are cultured folk.)  Meghan and I went and had a taste of fine culture.  We agreed that it was long, and we are not conditioned to long stretches of entertainment (do we have cultural ADHD?) We also agreed that it was funny, the singers were fabulous (Emily Wells and Quentin Lee were especially excellent), and I was very thankful to experience the opera in its new space this year.  The Prochnow Auditorium is intimate and simple,  and had a classic beauty that enhanced what was onstage.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to experience challenging and enriching mediums such as opera.

I am also so happy and grateful for John "JT" Tannous of Flagstaff Cultural Partners for the energy and hard work he and his staff puts into making and maintaining a dynamic and thriving art scene in Flagstaff.  On Friday night I went to the Member's Preview of "It's Elemental."  It's always fun to go to art openings at the Cultural Center for the Arts and enjoy a consistently high-quality exhibit.  It's also a good place to see many of the most influential people in the arts in Flagstaff.

In my mind, one of those people is Bruce Aiken, an artist of international acclaim, best known for his Grand Canyon oil paintings.  Bruce is also a dedicated community member and advocate for the arts.  He has served on and led the City's Beautification and Public Arts Commission (BPAC) for 4-5 years, and has made tough, visionary decisions about how to spend money on artistic contributions that benefit the entire city.  He is fantastic role model for people young and old, because he cares about the arts and always encourages artists and creative individuals to recognize and develop their talents.

 I'm thankful and grateful for a job that literally requires me to stay connected with the art community.  I'm grateful for a community that gives me access to performances such as the NAU Opera production of "Albert Herring."  I'm grateful for friends who will go with me to all the concerts and experience it with an open heart and mind.  And I'm thankful for leaders who work hard to promote a vision of artistic excellence and who show us the way.

And finally, I'm thankful for beauty, and the ability to appreciate and treasure it.  It brings me infinite happiness.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Another of my favorite pieces at "It's Elemental" by Bob Fain.

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