Finding Hope in Artistic Excellence
Published: April 17th, 2020
In this early Spring of 2020 I am, like you, at home 24/7 doing my part to contain the spread of COVID-19. Though I continue my work, the additional time at home affords me the opportunity to indulge in a number of simple pleasures. Not surprisingly, most of these reflect both the designer and artist in me. More important, they remind me that, while we face an onslaught of challenges, we are capable of greatness.
What a thrill it is, for example, to head over to YouTube to watch a fantastic assortment of Kennedy Center Honors awarded to some of the greatest artists and performers of our time. The pure talent on display at these events deeply inspires me. There are so many from which to choose and I certainly haven’t watched them all, but I began with the 1978 tribute to the great American musical composer Richard Rodgers, then wandered to the salute to the greatest jazz singer of all time, Ella Fitzgerald a year later, featuring Count Basie and Peggy Lee. My love for Broadway led me then to watch the extravaganza honoring composer Stephen Sondheim and later, Broadway favorite Barbara Cook. Within all of these Kennedy Center tributes lie gem-like performances — like Adam Lambert’s performance of Cher’s “Believe” and Aretha’s shattering, ever-cresting rendition of “Natural Woman” in a salute to Carole King. It just doesn’t get any better than this!
In my darkest moments, performances like these remind me of what it means to be fully, exquisitely human, soaring to such heights of artistic excellence that one cannot help but be reassured. If we can tap that boundless creativity and genius that lies within us, we will transcend these times.