May 5, 2020

This is What Art Means to Us

Even though we have to work from our homes at this time, we’re still striving to share our passion for the arts with you, our valued patrons.
Image: Screen capture of Scottsdale Arts staff meeting via Zoom.

Today, May 5, 2020, is #GivingTuesdayNow, a day of generosity and unity—a day to come together and give back in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. At a time when we are all experiencing the pandemic, generosity is what brings people of all backgrounds together across the globe.  

In celebration of the overflowing generosity in our community, Scottsdale Arts is sharing tremendous thanks to arts lovers and advocates for their support in good times and in challenging times alike, and we’ve spent the past week thanking special groups with love letters throughout our four blogs—groups like volunteers and teaching artists, corporate partners and members, our leadership, our artists, our donors, and many more. We’re re so lucky to have this community! And today we want to thank the reason we’re all here, together: art itself!  

In gray skies and in blue, we’re so thankful for the arts—to create, to share, to challenge us, to inspire us. As a place to escape to and a place to come home to, art is how we decipher our world and how we give LIFE to our world. We are so thankful that in times of joy and in times of hardship alike, we have art to lean on. 

We asked our Scottsdale Arts staff two questions: Why are you thankful for art? What do the arts mean to you? Their responses, some below, will serve as a reminder that what connects all of us more during this pandemic is not a sense of fear or anxiety, but hope. An appreciation for beauty, creativity, and reflection of the human condition. The joy of laughter, the freedom of letting go and being silly. Hope for our collective future, for the chance to soon be with our friends and family in person again, to hear a rousing performance or a heart-felt song with our own ears, to be moved by something seen with our own eyes and share the experience with others. Art is our connection to humanity, and that can never be taken away. We’re so thankful for that.

“Art is an escape from the everyday, and for that I am thankful. Whether I’m perusing a museum, listening to music, or attending a live performance, I enjoy the complete shift of focus to what is in front of me, taking it all in and appreciating the meaning and creativity behind each.” — Whitney Nelson, Festival & Events Manager, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 

“The arts have been there for me ever since I could pick up a crayon. It has had the innate ability to re-center my soul and give me passion for life. We need the arts now more than ever to remind us of how beautiful life is at the core, despite all the chaos surrounding us. It is the light at the end of the tunnel.” — Brittany Arnold, Teen & Family Coordinator, Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation 

“The arts are where I go to be inspired, to experience the world in a new way. The arts give me the opportunity to see the world differently. The arts experience opens doors of perception. Art gives me solace.” — Wendy Raisanen, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Scottsdale Public Art 

“Art is a connection to other human beingsboth our contemporaries and those who lived before us. It provides communication, expression, inspiration, color, and thought. Art illuminates and expands how we think about the word we live in.” — Carrie Tovar, Registrar, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art 

“A song, a painting, or a dance can trigger a memory that brings us back to a different time. The arts allow us to envision a beautiful future and gives us the courage to bring it to life. The arts have also connected me with people from all walks of life, colors, and creeds. I am truly thankful for being able to experience the world from such unique perspectives.” — Abigail Clarke, Member and Patron Services/Box Office Manager, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 

“Every morning I wake up and pass a painting my grandfather made for me. It is a connection to him I will have for the rest of time—a piece of him which will still be here when he is gone. Art—no matter what form—is an extension of the artist, an interpretation of the world through their eyes. It is a gift they are giving to the world. It allows us to be a part of a moment and create a connection with something beyond ourselves. Art allows us to view our world in a way we may not have before. It challenges our perceptions and open us up to new possibilities. Art allows us to continue growing, which I am thankful for.” — Erin Krivanek, Director of Development 

“For me, the visual and performing arts represent some of the best aspects of being human: imagination, creativity, experimentation, courage, communication, resourcefulness, empathy, and passion. Working for an arts organization, I am in awe of these qualities every day.” — Charlotte Quinney, Campus Engagement Coordinator, Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation 

Art has personally influenced my emotional well-being. From creating a painting, to listening to music, to experiencing other forms of art, the way that someone can connect to it on a deep level really impacts the way they interact with other types of art and navigate the world we live in. If you haven’t felt a deep emotion connection towards a piece of work, I highly suggest you try it.” — Raechel Miller, Assistant Retail Manager 

“I am thankful to have the arts in my life because the community of artists that support Sunday A’Fair, Scottsdale Arts Festival, and other events throughout the year have become a part of our Scottsdale Arts family. Their continued support of our events and their eagerness to participate reflects the strong partnerships and relationships that we strive to build as an organization.” — Jamie Prins, Events Director, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 

“Now, perhaps more than ever, I’ve realized that the arts are all around us. I love watching videos online of ordinary people sharing their creativity, senses of humor, and talents—this tells me that we are all artists; we always have been. In times of joy and in time of stress alike, it is the organic human response to seek comfort in creation and an impulse to share it with others. Art is all around us because art is already within us.” — Olivia Homewood, Individual Giving Manager 

“Art allows for inclusivity and freedom of expression. Art shifts our thinking, expands our understanding and allows us to see the world through a different lens. Art is a connection to our past; art is a connection to one another—art is humanity itself.” — Annie Parker, Facility Rentals Manager 

“Art is a form of time travel for me. On any given day, I can leave my current reality and be transported back in time through music, experience the wonders of another place through a painting, imagine what floating in air would feel like through dance. Art lifts my spirits and transports my soul.” — Scottsdale Arts employee  

“The arts bring creative people’s passions to us as a community and help enhance our quality of life, and I am so happy to experience that.” — Jill Kienow, Digital Marketing Specialist 

“As a fiber artist (or preferably, a knitteratti), art is how I show love to people in my life. I may not be able to hug someone when they’re going through a rough time, but if I knit them a blanket they can wrap themselves in, it’s almost as good. Art also gives me a connection to my family, from inheriting crochet blankets from my godmother (who passed when I was 17) and a great-grandmother (whom I never met) to a portrait of my great-great grandmother that hangs in my living room. Art reminds me that I am come from a line of creative, resourceful women, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.” — Caitie Quick, Marketing Manager 

“I honestly believe the arts teach us how to be human. It is through these stories we experience and these beauties we observe that we learn the full capacity of the human spirit. We don’t just see art with our eyes or hear it with our ears, we experience it with our souls. It’s part of who we are as individuals and communities—including the all-encompassing community of humankind.” — Brian Passey, Senior Communications Specialist 

What do the arts mean to you? Now is your time to tell the world and make a difference. 

As a nonprofit organization employing hundreds of artists, musicians, designers, technicians, teaching artists, and staff, we firmly believe that art is an essential part of life and a place of calm and connection in an otherwise chaotic world. This #GivingTuesdayNow, your love for the arts can be a critical lifeline to support Scottsdale Arts and our community during this difficult time. If you can, please consider a donation to the Scottsdale Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund to help fund virtual programming now and future live arts experiences. Thank you!

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Amplify Inspire | Immerse | Spark