We Go to Art

We humans go to art.

In tragedy, in celebration, in joy and in sorrow we seek solace and inspiration in art–in all of its forms. Art binds us together, mirrors our experiences, magnifies them. Art provides an indispensable lens through which we view and express our place in the world.

Art is necessary to the human experience – art IS the human experience. I’m drawn, naturally, to the role that music plays in processing major personal, societal and global events. I would imagine that I’m not the only person who has an ongoing soundtrack for my life.

How about when the Berlin wall fell? Berlin celebration!

And the funeral of Princess Diana? Diana’s funeral

The closing ceremony of the 911 museum? 911 museum dedication

The U.S. is experiencing a period of significant polarization and division–highlighted by a significant cultural disconnect. Knowing what a powerful force music can be (for political commentary, protest and unification),  I’m constantly thinking of ways that I can be a force for positive communication, understanding and change in my own small corner of the world.

I look to others who have ridden the waves of change before me as inspiration, Beethoven in particular. As a young man, he found himself in the middle of very tumultuous times. The French Revolution and subsequent rise of Napoleon initially promised hope to many who longed for a more egalitarian society–only to have their hopes dashed as Napoleon declared himself dictator.

However, Beethoven’s Eroica symphony emerged from this experience as a testament to ‘Fraternite, Egalite, Liberte’.  Beethoven last words on the subject were “It’s a pity I do not understand the art of war as well as I do the art of music. I would conquer him!”

Beethoven did understand, however, powerful impact that much of his music had on others–and that music could be used as an agent of change (9th Symphony, anyone?). Beethoven nine!

I find myself entering into a period of increased self-reflection, given the present cultural climate–and plan to redouble my own meager efforts to bring about positive change through music.

My best to all.


Rick Ferguson