life of mendel (lifeofmendel) wrote in brits_americans,

dreamers and artists

so i just watched Obama's SoTU address, and i'm left with a high degree of mixed emotions about the whole thing. During his presidential campaign, there was a lot of emphasis placed on dealing with our economic crisis, strategies to create jobs, help industry find its footing again, &c.

all of that is fine and good because that was one of the key things on everyone's mind at the time. Not that that isn't still important as the national economy is still on the beginnings of the road to recovery, but through all of the topics that he tried to address - most of which i resonate with and support - the one thing that i felt was lacking is something that's very close to my heart.

which is that i'm an artist. a musician, a composer by degree and somewhat by trade (a music educator otherwise). Music is my passion and is something i always dreamt making my career out of, and despite the fact that in high school it seemed improbable and despite my parents' initial resistance, i was intent on following my dream and utilizing my talent to create art that tries to appeal to lots of different levels.

i had a lot of inspiration along the way. The right sort of teachers in the right places, the right sort of musical role models that resonated in the artist in me. I feel that despite the fact that even then when i thought that dreamers and artists like me were politely frowned upon, i still had enough people to support me and validate my passion so that i can be in a place i am now: a career in music that is at least moderately successful and something i'm generally happy with. And i make it my mission to try to instill the inspiration that was given to me to my students and to those who have exposure to my art and my passion.

But i live in a time where the arts and extracurriculars in our public schools continues to diminish, where it feels like talk of becoming a composer or a musician or a storyteller are flights of fancy that should eventually turn into real "grown up" responsibilities of finding a more stable job or one that has more practical value. And today watching a president who i respect and admire and has a lot of right ideas made one thing clear: i don't live in a current national climate where dreamers and artists like me are given significant priority or advocacy. And it's damned depressing.

So my question is: how do people feel about this across the pond? Is there strong advocacy for innovation and creativity in ways that doesn't always lead to straightforward tangible ends? Where do the dreamers and artists and musicians and fiction authors &c fit in society from a practical and perception standpoint?

Tags: arts
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