Our culture, our passion, our inspiration
Let me introduce you to a power house individual who is the founder of the RAD (Rural Arts Development) Foundation in a small rural town in South Africa and my inspiration for this blog. You may come to know her from a distance through my eyes while I write about what the Foundation seeks to do, their activities and events. I am proud to be working closely alongside Helen Gooderson since the very beginning when the Foundation was a mere spark that needed some fuel to set it alight. And boy is it burning…. Helen has the energy, tenacity and drive to feed this baby….it is no wonder she was voted the Community Police Forum’s Woman of the Year in this town for 2012, which is the year that Helen’s RAD energy showed itself to the community. I am completely humbled that she asked me to be one of her board members. She does me a great honour. I hope to be a part of this new evolution of individuals who chose to share and stand firmly in place in supporting the arts as an essential part of human development.
How many of you were told that the arts could not possibly promise you a future that could generate a living wage? How many of you have heard that the only rich artists are dead artists? I cannot express in civil language how these attitudes have annoyed me since my childhood. There is no denying the contributions to society that artists have made; without them, the world would be a rather dreary bleak and soulless place. I had better catch myself quickly before I launch off the topic….breathe….inhale…..exhale (breathing is another topic for another time)
Both Helen and myself recognise in each other the passion we have for the arts and its ability to stimulate change and empowerment of an individual and to enhance the development of rural cultural activities at the most local level.
We at the RAD Foundation use the arts to address other issues as well which fall generally into the category of life skills. Rumor has it that in South Africa the arts are going to fall into this category for education during the early and junior school years….. another topic for discussion….. I am not sure I feel completely comfortable with that scenario. There still is no doubt in my mind that the arts are a vehicle that can be used to teach life skills. It is not an uncommon practice; we all know about Sesame street and seen documentaries of one kind or another, all requiring the practice of the arts in one form or another…. let me not get started on the topic of music and its impact on the world and the area of life skills…..
There is so much more that can be done and we hope that reading these posts will inspire you to take a moment or two and consider what you can be doing with your skills to effect change in your community. It may be a community art project or something as simple as reading poetry to someone who has lost their sight. You could be volunteering your skills to a Non Profit like RAD and being the change you want to see in the world. Come, I dare you to look at people like Helen who care enough, have the passion and are willing to actively be a part of the change.
Speaking of the world…. if you want to expand your outlook and experience something completely different, why not go voluntouring. There are opportunities for artists and others to share their skills in the most fabulous places. I will post some of the links here to help you on your journey…. for now….. I am again catching my breath while I ponder on this beautiful person who happened in my life…. Helen….