Northwest NEWS

February 4, 2002

Front Page

Mayor Nixon proclaims Feb. 12 'Arts Day 2002' in Duvall

Arts at the heart of the Duvall community
   by Carolyn Butler
   Special to the Valley View
   DUVALL Following the lead of Governor Gary Locke, who has officially declared Tuesday, Feb. 12, as a statewide Arts Day, Mayor Becky Nixon has proclaimed Feb. 12 "Arts Day" in the city of Duvall. Arts Day is a chance for us to recognize that the arts count in our community not just today, but every day. Pablo Picasso wrote, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
   The arts make communities livable, encourage tourism and provide other economic benefits: in 2001, the U.S. Conference of Mayors cited the arts as one of six keys to keeping cities competitive. But among the various factors that improve our quality of life, the arts are unique. An essential part of our civic dialogue, they help us to understand ourselves and each other and to connect with our shared human experience.
   For young people, the arts can be an indispensable avenue for expression and growth. Indeed, in recent months we have seen the importance of the arts for people all over the world. After the Taliban fell, the people of Afghanistan embraced music, poetry and song again immediately, as if they were being allowed to breathe again. In this country, people everywhere turned to the arts after Sept. 11 for solace, community and healing.
   The arts are alive and well in Duvall. The Duvall Arts Commission, established in 1998, partners with the Riverview School District, local businesses and service groups, and King County to make the arts accessible to all citizens through the presentation of performing artists, literary workshops, community festivals, public art and arts education.
   The Duvall Foundation for the Arts supports local artists, organizes the annual Sandblast festival, sponsors a community chorus and makes mini-grants to subsidize local arts projects and programs.
   Artists' Networking & Development, organized by Jim Tobin, a local professional actor, facilitates the sharing of ideas, contacts and works in progress among area actors, directors, producers, playwrights and musicians.
   To remain strong, the arts need our support, whether as individuals, business owners, parents, or public decision makers. As individuals, we can buy tickets to performances and support the work of individual artists. We can volunteer or donate to support arts in the schools, and to help arts non-profits survive. We can thank our local governments for their support of the public funding that gives artists and arts organizations the financial stability they need to develop new creative work. We can let businesses know that their arts funding is noticed and appreciated. We can be vocal in declaring that the arts are at the heart of our community because arts are at the heart of humanity.
   With the current economic climate on the greater Eastside and other demands on our time and resources, it might seem as if support for the arts would be far down on our agenda. But actually the arts count now more than ever. Music, art, dance, theatre, literature, and the other arts bring us together as a people and remind us what's important in our individual and community life. Starting today, let's put the arts at the center of life in our communities for the rest of 2002 and beyond.