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History informs art--or vice versa
by Sara Penny Cedar City Arts Council
Apr 08, 2017 | 1925 views | 0 0 comments | 119 119 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Those with the best artistic vision win in the historical memory game. Travel allows us to see how other communities define themselves through architecture and art.

A wooden sculpture of a tomb on top of a soccer ball seems odd until you know the history of a World War II bombing of Stirling, Scotland, which destroyed a soccer venue. The musical fragment found in Dresden by Remo Giazotto, which he transformed into the famous “Adagio,” is a testament to healing after war, but also a reminder of the destruction of fire bombing.

We know historical portraits tend to romanticize and flatter their subjects, yet the images stick in our imaginations. Artists thus create an historical reality that may not be totally true, but is nonetheless very powerful. Think of the American Revolution and you see the painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware. Think of the Civil War and you’ll remember the book and movie “Gone with the Wind.” Nearly every movie based on historical events takes dramatic license, and yet the medium is so powerful that the movie version becomes our collective memory of how events actually transpired. Shakespeare’s literary masterpieces keep English history vibrant, and still serve as the spin room for Queen Elizabeth’s policies.

Art can sometimes be overtly political in viewpoint. Think of the great political cartoonists of now and times past. James V of Scotland decorated Renaissance architecture with statues of himself next to Roman gods, a not-very subtle symbol of his right to rule.

A community is defined by the architecture and art it presents to the world. It is exciting to see increased visual art activity, expanded theatre and musical performance venues in Cedar City (My mother, Pauline Nelson, called it the “edifice complex” when leaders used buildings to express a community’s values). Our Heritage Theater is known by musicians state-wide as a beautiful venue in which to perform. We have had beautiful new additions to the SUU campus in years past, and can anyone drive past the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts and doubt Cedar City’s commitment to the arts? The arts obviously matter in Cedar City.

The Cedar City Arts Council invites you to be an active participant in the image we wish to present to the world by joining the CCAC and taking the time to attend the plays, exhibits, and other arts events that are offered.

This time of year calendars are full of more events than we can attend. On April 6, young artists will perform with the Orchestra of Southern Utah. Jack Ashton’s Young Chamber Artists will perform with Suzuki Strings on April 8. Check SUU’s year-end calendar. Then comes the glorious opening week of the Shakespeare Festival’s 2017 season, this year presenting a diverse calendar of favorites and world premieres. The CCAC will expand its Final Friday Art Walks on the last Fridays of the summer months.

We are not above using our art to create our own city’s history.

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History informs art--or vice versa

2 months ago
by Sara Penny Cedar City Arts Council
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