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Promoting the Arts at the Grassroots: Realizing One’s Full Potential in the Arts

January 24, 2012

Promoting the arts at the grassroots opens up creative channels through which can flow inspiration and the force of attraction to beauty.

Artistic expression (music, poetry, painting, drama, etc)

  • Artistic expression is a form of service
  • Artistic expression enhances spiritual development
  • Artistic expression is an essential element
  • Artistic expression is not simply “entertainment”
  • Artistic expression is not extracurricular

Service in the arts includes

  • Developing one’s own capacity for artistic expression, be it through music, poetry, painting, drama, etc.
  • Promoting the arts and crafts at the grassroots
    • encouraging others’ in the development of their own capacity for artistic expression, be it through music, poetry, painting, drama, etc.
    • exposing others to the various forms of artistic expression.

    Promoting the Arts at the Grassroots 
    Purpose: To appreciate the role of artistic endeavors in the activity of a study circle

    “In the first two units of this book, we explored concepts, qualities, attitudes and skills that shape your capability to serve as a tutor of Books 1 to 6 of the Ruhi Institute. Most of the time you will perform this act of service by establishing study circles in your own and neighbouring communities, accompanying each group in its study of the Institute’s sequence of courses and guiding the participants in the corresponding practice. The sequence of courses followed by the study circles has a single purpose: empowering the believers morally and spiritually in their resolve to tread a path of service to the Cause and to humanity (Book 7, Part 3, Section 1, page 111).”

    “The aim of this third unit is to reflect with you on another fundamental idea, namely, that you can make a significant contribution to the capabilities of service of those who take part in a study circle by encouraging them to develop their capacity for artistic expression, be it through music, poetry, painting, drama or any of the various types of study circle. You should not think of this as entertainment of as an extracurricular activity-for which there is ample room in the Institute’s program-but as an essential element enhancing the spiritual development of the participants (Book 7, Part 3, Section 1, page 111).”

    “To begin, examine the following questions:

    1. What different types of music do people play or listen to in your region?
    2. What are your favourite types of music? When do you listen to them? Why do you listen to them?
    3. Is every type of music appropriate for every occasion?
    4. Whistle, hum or sing one of your favourite tunes. Why do you like it?
    5. Is storytelling a form of art? Is poetry an art form?
    6. Recite a favourite poem or narrate a story.
    7. What is the most popular form of drama in your region?
    8. Aside from movies, videos or television, have you seen a dramatic performance recently? Can you describe it? What effect did it have on you?
    9. Most cultures have their own well-known painters or sculptors. Name the prominent ones in your region. Have you seen any of their work in person?
    10. Can you name a few crafts? Do you know a craft? Is there a craft you do not know but would like to learn?
    11. Many cultures have traditional dances. Describe some of the traditional dances of your region. Are they used for special occasions? Are they performed by certain people only, or can anyone who wishes take part? (Book 7, Part 3, Section 1, page 111)

    Section 10

    “As you have gathered from your study of this unit, the task being asked of you does not require you to be an accomplished artist. You need not be an actor, a playwright, a poet or a musician to promote the arts at the grassroots level. Nor is a study circle the occasion to prepare individuals for earning a livelihood through arts and crafts. What you need to remember is that the Institute is fundamentally concerned with spiritual and moral empowerment. Exposing its students to various forms of artistic expression constitutes one element in the process. By being a promoter of the arts and crafts at the grassroots in ways which have been described in this unit, you will be opening up creative channels through which can flow inspiration and the force of attraction to beauty (Book 7, Part 3, Section 10, page 130).”

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