Arts Programs Are Part Of Bristol's Progress
October 16, 2008*** Letter to the Editor published: September 27, 2008 in the Bristol Herald Courier. ***
I am one of the lucky ones. Even though I grew up in a small northwest Pennsylvania town, we were only an hour-and-a-half drive from Buffalo, N.Y., and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, one of the nation's oldest public arts organizations. Because of my father's business, we also spent time on Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City taking advantage of their museums.
When I moved to Bristol in 1979, it was certainly lacking the enriching opportunities that art can offer a community. Immediately I became involved in volunteer activities geared to opening young and old minds to the glory of art. Currently I serve on the [Arts Alliance Mountain Empire's] Art in Public Places sculpture project committee which, by the placing of sculpture in the community, helps make Bristol a cultural gathering place.
It often happens that art's responses are presented as the most modern and the most revolutionary, when in fact they follow ancient, and believed forgotten, paths.
It is precisely artists who can offer us the discovery of a new and extraordinary vision of the world, through their sensibility and using their ability to approach things from an "other" viewpoint. Art can teach the tolerance of differences of opinions because with art there is no set "answer."
Art in Public Places is a courageous challenge promoting discussions, interpretations and sparking controversy about the progress of contemporary art. The most successful communities are those that sustain variety in the daily lives of the residents. Open your eyes and your minds and you might see the progress in Bristol.
Mary Jane Miller