Letter to the Editor

Strong local arts organizations create stronger community

Friday, November 17, 2017

To the Editor:

Putnam County community arts organizations create spaces for musicians, actors, visual artists and dancers ages 5-105 to come together, work together, create together and engage in a collaborative process that builds relationships across race, culture, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status and political affiliation.

The arts express the human experience, and they bring people together to achieve something bigger than any individual can achieve.

Community arts organizations played a critical role in shaping my early days as a musician. Playing for numerous productions at the Putnam County Playhouse, playing in the former Greencastle Chamber Orchestra, serving as music director at First Christian Church and organist at St. Paulís Catholic Church, and playing in the South Putnam High School Band allowed me the opportunities to engage my skills as a musician and to build relationships with people I never would have met otherwise.

My mentors impacted my life by giving me opportunities to take risks and challenging me to bring the best of my art to the collaborative process. After high school, I went to DePauw where I was fortunate enough to continue my music studies as a first-generation college student.

In spite of the fact that funding for school arts programs has been cut incrementally over the years, there are still people who understand the value of the arts in the community and who are committed to ensuring that people of all ages have access.

Programs like Music on the Square and The Castle are creating new partnerships between DePauw University and the community at large. The Putnam County Playhouse, the Putnam County Museum and all of the music, art and theater programs in county school continue to offer opportunities for musicians, actors and artists to come together, collaborate and build relationships.

The arts provide a way for all of us to see the world in new ways. We can never underestimate the power of the arts to nurture our collective soul and to build a stronger Putnam County.

Jason Asbury
Former resident