photo by Steve Bracci

In artist Philip Morsberger’s TEDx  presentation this past spring, he quotes John Ruskin—writer, watercolorist, philanthropist, art patron and leading English art critic of the Victorian era—in saying, “The purpose of art is to uplife and enoble the viewer, listener and reader. Ruskin viewed the making of uplifing art as a moral imperative.”  Undoubtedly Philip exemplifies this philosophy as he continues to passionately create art well into his 70s—working in  his studio every day of the week.

Fortunately for the residents of Augusta, there are a multitude of opportunities to be uplifted by art thanks to the city’s vibrant and diverse arts community. A look at our annual Arts Calendar will quickly bear that out. Literally dozens of performances, exhibitions, classes, festivals and workshops are available to any and all, no matter the age or skill level. From chamber music to jazz, from fine art to theater, opportunities abound every weekend of the year­—many of which are free of charge.

All are made possible in no small part thanks to the tremendous support of Augusta businesses, arts advocates and hundreds of dedicated individuals and passionate artists pursuing their “moral imperative.” It is uplifting to realize how much Augusta loves the arts. Thankfully,  despite ongoing economic challenges and federal cutbacks, the arts continue to prevail here.

If you’ve not taken advantage of one of these many uplifting opportunities, I urge you to do so. Spend a lunch hour wandering through the galleries of the Morris or the History Museum. Find a seat at Saint Paul’s for one of the free regularly scheduled Tuesday’s Music Live concerts. Escape to the hushed darkness of the Imperial or the Maxwell or the Jabez for a concert or play or dance performance. Spend an evening under the stars enjoying one of the many outdoor concert series performances.

And if you’ re moved by your own moral imperative, sign up for art classes, audition for a part in a play or place in a choral group.  Or just as important, become a member of the Morris Museum, Gertrude Herbert, History Museum, Arts Council or any one of many other groups that would welcome your contribution both financial and otherwise. It’s a great investment in your community, your quality of life and your spirit.

A perfect win-win.

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