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The Arts in Southern Denton County… and Beyond

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“Wild River,” glass work by local artist Suely Lohr, president of the Cross Timbers Artists Guild.

by Elizabeth Brannon

I saw a film many years ago and one of the individuals interviewed said, “I don’t know anything about art. I only know what I like.” It’s hard to capture a good definition because art, like beauty, is really in the eyes or ears of the beholder.

What is Art?

From Wikipedia: Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author’s imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.

And so, we launch a regular column in the Gazette where we focus on art, in the broadest of terms.  Our hope is to heighten awareness of the rich array of art that’s available to us in southern Denton County and all of North Texas and to generate support for additional arts and art programs in our local communities.

We don’t have to travel far or mortgage our homes to enjoy and experience some excellent and diverse offerings and artists’ creations. Before I moved to North Texas, I used to think quality art was only available in large cities or in university towns. How wonderful to live here and have such variety and richness to enjoy. The real challenge is how to budget time to include the arts when our lives are so busy. We hope these columns convince you to support the arts in our local communities.

This spring, I attended local performing arts events, including the Lake Cities Ballet (in Lewisville), the Flower Mound Community Orchestra, the Voices of Flower Mound, the Vocal Majority (in Richardson), and Into the Woods (from the Broadway Series in Dallas). In just two months, I saw live dance, orchestra, accompanied singing, a cappella singing and musical theater, and didn’t have to travel more than 20 miles to enjoy all of it. What distinguished all of these was the accessibility and quality of the art, and the realization that, except for the Broadway show in Dallas, all of the performers were local people who have talent, passion and dedication – to making our local world a better place through their art. Clearly, I enjoyed the performing arts this spring.

There are more types of art than we’ll have column space to feature, but we’re going to do our best to make the arts a part of your monthly reading. And speaking of reading, how many people know April is National Poetry Month? I revisited some of my favorites to honor Poetry Month. The first poem (not a nursery rhyme) that I loved as a young child was My Shadow, by Robert Louis Stevenson. In taking the time to enjoy this poem again, I removed myself from the stress of everyday life and the news and social media and earning a living and just trying to thrive. Finding this and other beloved poems and re-reading them was a really nice interlude in my day. As a child, I didn’t know anything about art. I only knew I liked My Shadow, and my enjoyment of that poem lingers today.

That’s what the arts can do for your life – create a nice interlude – to relax or think or just enjoy your life in a different way than the norm.  Maybe by reading this column you’ll discover or rediscover the arts in our local community and commit to creating the time in your life to partake.

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