Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

The Arts: My Weapon of Choice

Today is Arts Matter Day, a campaign developed by MassCreative to advocate for the importance and the value of the arts, and to encourage people to consider the arts when they vote.

I know, there are lots of issues to consider when it comes to voting, and perhaps support of the arts seems low on the list when you compare it to things like climate change, equality, the economy, ISIS, ebola etc. etc. etc. However, to me the arts are as valuable as the sciences (although in a different way) toward solving the problems in the world.

The arts have power--to make people think, to give people hope, to encourage and promote change. I, personally, could not live in a world without access to the arts. They fill my life and make me who I am: whether I am pouring words onto a page, meditating into the lines of a Zentangle, or experiencing the energy of a room of people exploring what it means to be human through theatre.



Art even plays a role in the story of P.O.W.ER because to me art is power:

Available Dec. 1, 2014!!

I opened the scroll to find an elaborate painting with images of birds and flowers in rich vibrant colors. My chest filled with its beauty. I could hardly breathe.

“This is spectacular.” It was more than just beautiful. I followed the images carefully with my finger. “Did you know it has a hidden message in the secret language?”

“You know I can only read a few symbols of the women’s language,” Brian said, “especially since you refuse to teach me.” He winked at Dad who chuckled.

I stuck my tongue out, and then realized I should probably stop doing things like that. After all, I was considered a woman. Heat rose in my face as both Dad and Brian laughed at me.

I gave them each one of my best glares and focused back on the scroll. “It’s called a secret language for a reason. You aren’t even supposed to know it exists. Besides, women need some way to communicate when we’re stuck in our homes.”

“I know. You don’t have to preach to me,” Brian said. “Look at the scroll. Don’t you recognize who painted it?”

I searched for the special image that would tell me which woman created this message masterpiece. I found it and tears sprang into my eyes. I dropped the scroll as a tingle shot through my fingers and into my heart.

“What’s wrong?” Dad asked. He picked it up and his eyes filled as well.

“This was painted by your mother.”  [ . . . ]

“It’s beautiful. Thank you.” I smoothed the scroll down with care. I could see the love and thought placed in each line and color.

“I’d give anything to know what it says.” Brian’s quiet voice brought my focus back to the hidden words—words written by my mother for other women to see.

I followed the delicate lines and bright colors with one finger. I could almost sense Mother sitting next to me, guiding me to find the message hidden in the elaborate design. I breathed in and could smell a lingering scent that emanated from the scroll—the light lilac of Mother’s perfume. Another tear slid down my cheek and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stop the deluge.

Dad handed me a napkin to wipe the tears away. His gentle voice broke into thoughts I could barely express, “Are you going to read this to us?”

I took a deep breath and read, “Women have powers that men fear. I hope my daughter uses hers to change the world.” (Excerpt from P.O.W.ER)
Today, I would like to ask that you visit another one of my creative passions. As some of you know, I am the co-founder of the heArtful Theatre Company . . . a company which allows me to share my love of arts while empowering people to find their own voices and stories. In honor of Arts Matter Day, we asked participants of a workshop that we are doing with the Seven Hills Foundation to share why arts matter to them in short videos. Please wander over and hear their voices, because they matter so much more than mine.

Then let me know your answer to the question "Why do arts matter?"