Adam Parker studied music, then spent a decade in the business world before earning a degree in journalism from Columbia University. He has taught journalism as an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston and worked in various capacities at The Post and Courier since 2004. For six years, he was lead writer for the award-winning Faith & Values section. Today, he is arts and culture reporter, book page editor and coordinator of the newspaper’s extensive festival coverage.
These have been some tough months. Terrorist bombings (in Boston and abroad), mass shootings, continuing economic woes among the poor and middle class, political gridlock and ideological posturing — all have contributed to stress and strain.
Entertainment always has offered a distraction from the concerns of daily life. Sometimes it is the mindless kind of spectacle, which arguably inures us to reality and, therefore, helps to make things worse. All the time we spend watching comic-book movies like “Iron Man 3” or so-called reality TV shows such as “The Biggest Loser” or “Dancing With the Stars” is time we are not spending on issues that matter.
But sometimes our entertainment is of the uplifting kind. It causes us not to forget the world beyond the theater or concert stage, but to remember it, think about it, appreciate it, seek to defend it. It stimulates and inspires us. It shows us new dimensions of feeling and intellect. It reveals something about human nature. It celebrates the sublime.
So let us give credit to Spoleto Festival USA and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. For these multifaceted celebrations of art offer us a glimpse of ourselves we cannot typically obtain through other means.
Arts festivals are, by definition, a happy occasion to experience the miracle of human creation. They permit us to enter the minds of great composers, to revel in the physical beauty dancers provide, to marvel at the way theater spins its magic, to contemplate profound aesthetic and philosophical ideas represented by the visual arts.
These 17 days, filled to the brim with all sorts of events, are a time for us to remember why the world is a beautiful place. Tragedies will continue unabated, but if we seize the opportunity, these days can demonstrate that — sometimes, often — the human spirit also is meant to soar.
Once again, The Post and Courier will follow the festivals closely and provide readers and users of the website at postandcourier.com an abundance of content. Each day through June 9, we will publish feature stories, reviews, videos and photo galleries; we will use social media to provide up-to-the-minute information and links to online materials; we will post to special festival blogs.
Our writers and reviewers will strive to remind you, over and over again, why the arts are important and why Charleston is the place to be.
Reach Adam Parker at 937-5902. Follow him at www. facebook.com/aparkerwriter.