Focus on Art
By Rob Mohr
Impact of the Arts at Lakeside
“Art is life is art.” Gertrude Stein
Human progress is impelled by those who work at the creative edge of life. History reveals that all human cultures and societies go through similar stages of artistic development which form the primary determinants in the civilizing process. The arts lead humanity forward and foment healthy change. Even technology, which enables our current lifestyle, has its roots in humanity’s creative actions. Advances in science or technology have frequently been anticipated by creative fiction writers. In his Sprawl and Bridge Trilogies (1988), William Gibson anticipated today’s information based culture and economy.
Creative actions link humanity in unique ways, such as the acting out of human stories as theatre, or through paintings of the human body. The arts not only mirror the world, but also give it form, expression and an emotional presence that reveals shared feelings. They expose the core – the inner world that makes us introspective and reflective beings.
At Lakeside, creativity and expanding awareness are key to the youthful outlook many share, a reality which helps shape the quality and health of our experience. Openness and inclusiveness also help us with the challenges of retirement. While encounters with a verity of individuals and groups helps us actualize each other’s creativity. As a creative community, we collectively overcome the homogeny and oppressive cultural climate dominated by conservative corporate interest that prevails in the United States. The local result is a dynamic and growing micro-culture that offers the stimulation needed for a full and productive life.
Artists, and those who participate in the arts, are the primary change agents in our progressive and innovative community. Each of us plays a role. The creators point the way; the enthusiast share vision; those who interpret assimilate; and those who purchase, exhibit, or perform give sustenance.
The social bonds and communities formed by participants in the various arts provide for the development of strong and lasting relationships, as well as a sense that we contribute to the collective good. Equally encouraging, engaging in the arts improves our physical and mental health, something most of us instinctively understand. Stress is relieved when we attend arts events, while active participation in the arts improves one’s sense that life has meaning. Engagement facilitates physiological and psychic relief as it cures the personal and collective soul.
Art education for adults and children also plays a significant role. In contrast with the United States, where conservatives have successfully removed the arts from the nation’s schools, local educational efforts led by LCS and private groups have significantly expanded the quantity and quality of arts education available. Graduates from the Neill James Arts Program form the core of a strong Mexican arts community that does much to encourage engagement in the visual arts. A vital writers group, that meets twice monthly, provides an essential forum for writers to present works for critical assessment. The community formed encourages deep and lasting friendships.
The diversity of arts organizations, coupled with constant opportunities to participate in arts events, play a major role in attracting tourists and residents. The large number of galleries, cultural centers and museums make Lake Chapala a choice destination, and the primary enabler of Lakeside’s thriving economy. Even with conservatives’ resistance to funding the arts in the US, arts and culture produce over $200 billion in economic activity each year. Lakeside’s arts percentage of gross income would be much higher.
The arts are essential in discovering and manifesting our full potential as individuals and as a society.
“It is in the shelter of each other that the people lived.” —Irish Proverb.