Have a voice, help the Arts

James McDougald

We need to hold the arts of the Southeast to a higher standard.  American Literature and Music are from the South, after all.  From roots to blues to jazz to rock-a-billy to rock ‘n’ roll, we also claim Mark Twain and Poe.  The Empire State of the South should not forget this.  We should hold ourselves up high and push for new work and solid criticism.  

The Players of GSU is “the oldest charted student organization on campus, and the oldest produced Theatre Company in Georgia.”  That’s something special! Something that shouldn’t be hidden behind a homepage from 1991, and their upcoming season has several intriguing titles.  Have you been to one of their shows?  Georgia State releases biannually New South, a collection of short prose, poetry and nonfiction.  Have you checked it out?  It’s nationally known.  They have a highly competitive contest each year, where you can read the best of Georgia States’ work.  The Welch School Galleries are hosting about 14 different, curated events over the course of the year.  Their mediums range from sculptures to photography to paint.  There is something for everyone.

Go out and explore more than what your athletes are doing.  We are in a special time period where our generation is struggling to find its voice, to find it’s vision, and you can help along the way.  Support your classmates and Atlanta art and do everyone the service of talking about it.  Good or bad, how did it make you feel?  Explaining why you don’t like something is far better than any tepid reaction or general like.

We are in a special time period where our generation is struggling to find its voice, to find it’s vision, and you can help along the way.

Art, regardless of your personal definition, shows our culture.  It shows all of our unique voices and justifies our existence of our society.  It’s meant to convey the time we live in and the issues and passions of that age.  It’s a pity everything looks the same.  It’s a pity the state doesn’t offer more support.  But you can help; go out and observe.  Go out, dress up nice, drink the gallery’s wine and discuss what you see.  Is this more pretentious than camping in front of a stadium to show your support?  It’s cheaper than a game and significantly cheaper than a movie.

Discuss conviction, discuss necessity—the artist is listening.  The artist is learning.  Defend local art and stand up for voices that would be silent if not for their personal means of expression.

We live in a city that used to be something special and can be again.  New works—works created and presented new—are cropping up all over town.

There’s nothing finer than when it all comes together.  When you see that one painting that draws you in.  When you feel at shows’ end a compulsion to rise and applaud.  When you hear that song for the first and realize the band lives within a mile of you.  The Empire State of the South could be something special.  Support our arts!  Support the people making it.  But don’t give them an inch; let them earn your admiration.  You’ll know what you’re looking for when you find it, and when you find it you’ll wonder how you’ve made it this long without more.