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Acting locally is good for the arts

By Kay Goodwin
Cabinet Secretary

All art is local. Art may capture a global sentiment, but artistic expression belongs primarily to artists and their communities - and is very much local.

My roots are in the theater. Although I have served on countless state, regional and national arts organizations and commissions, nothing has brought me greater pleasure and a greater sense of community than staging plays and musical theater for high school and community arts groups. My heart truly belongs there.

Nothing is more demanding. To be an artist, regardless of the medium, is to open yourself to family and friends and evaluation by the most knowing of eyes. If you can succeed as an artist in one of the close-knit communities nestled in the rugged mountains of West Virginia, you can succeed anywhere.

The arts are thriving in West Virginia. Today we have more than 200 museums and historic sites. Our symphony orchestras are flourishing. The Clay Center is beginning to dominate the Charleston skyline.

To continue this momentum, we must continue to create a medium that speaks of truth and beauty - even when it seems no one is listening. We must advocate for the importance of the arts and arts education - even when it seems no one understands. We must remain passionate about our work - even when it seems no one cares.

The arts will continue to thrive in West Virginia. However, we must all continue to communicate and support one another. This is why we in the Department of Education and the Arts know ArtWorks is so important. ArtWorks allows artists to form a community within a community, and its silken threads combine to create an intricate web to promote artists and art appreciation throughout this great state.

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