The arts matter because people matter. We need the arts now more than ever.
Once a 19th century spa for New York City elites, the tiny Village of Sharon Springs, New York declined when the fashions changed. Private estates were converted into boarding houses, then abandoned, then collapsed. The arts disappeared. The opera house closed. The theater closed. Businesses closed. The hotel where Oscar Wilde lectured was pulled down. People moved away. Now there is a global pandemic. The world is changing again.
No matter. We will change with it.
Who are we? We are the people of Sharon Springs; the ones who stayed and the ones who have come since. Artists. Writers. Actors. Musicians. Teachers. Students. Artisans. Workers. Families. People.
Who are we? We are the people who believe that the arts are vital to the well-being of democratic societies; that they can model inclusion and diversity, transform civic life; enlighten public dialogue; and contribute directly to recreating our community.
Who are we? We are the people who believe that the arts can show us how to learn from each other. Young, old, women, men, straight, gay, old family, new family. Different backgrounds, races, cultures, social and political perspectives.
We are the people who will prove by our actions, by our civic engagement, by showing our faces on one of the historic landmarks in our village – we will show that we are still here and that we believe the arts can transform the way we see our neighbors and ourselves, the way we think about who we are, and the way we give back to our community.
We are the people who believe that the arts matter because people matter.
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