Now that things seem turning the corner on the pandemic, we may be getting back to a more normal way of living including graduations and weddings. Both are great illustrations of how the arts are central to our lifestyle here in the United States, even if we don't often acknowledge them as such.
Graduations with their music, pomp, and costumed faculty and students often come off with flair and—depending upon the speaker—an artistic aura when speakers from arts fields (such as Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg) give advice in speeches meant to motivate and inspire, but which often go unheard by graduates who want to party with friends, and parents who want to proudly take pictures of their newly graduated offspring.
Certainly, I can speak from experience on this topic, the featured speaker at one of my sisters' graduation ceremonies was Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I listened to the speech but heard little of it, a sad commentary on my younger self.
Weddings of course are another matter altogether. Even “small” weddings are big events having more in common many times with community theatre productions than with religious ceremony. With music—either a wind or wood quartet, a singer, even a band—and often special lighting, the renting of an a performance space instead of using a church, sometimes even taking the wedding on the road to an out of town resort for that “special” once in a lifetime event that more than half of those who will experience more than once. Weddings often cost thousands while putting many a bride and groom (and their parents) through stress and arguments about how much is too much, where and when, and who should be invited first to participate and later to attend threaten to break apart the couple before the nuptials even happen.
Where else can you find places or occasions where the arts—music, theatre, dance, writing, poetry, even photography and film—are part of the events of daily life?