Of Art that Matters

In lieu of using my own words today, I’m going to point you to an amazing commencement address given to the newly graduated Juilliard class (and many thanks to my friend Caitlin Hammon, an amazing artist in her own right, for pointing me to this address). Joyce DiDonato does an amazing job expressing herself clearly and concisely concerning the role of art in today’s society, so you should all go read that here.

To summarize it, I will use a quote from one of my many guilty pleasures, One Tree Hill, and simply say: “Hey! Your art matters. It’s what got me here.”

Considering the great loss the world suffered yesterday in the death of Maya Angelou, I think we cannot be reminded of that fact enough.

“The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.”

-Maya Angelou

cagedbird

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