Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue

 Sponsored by: The Gaillard Center

Everywhere we look in Charleston we're surrounded by the arts. Entire streets are lined with galleries. Annual, world-class events like the Southeastern Wildlife Expo and the Spoleto Festival are, at their core, a celebration of the arts and artists. New theaters are opening regularly, and performance halls are booked each weekend with concerts and shows.

Charleston is a city of the arts. But to maintain that artistic reputation requires raising up a new generation of young people who love music, art, dance and theater. Not only does it make a community better but it has a true economic impact. Studies show children exposed to the arts do better in school, and those who took four years of art and music in high school have higher SAT scores. Plus, employers look for creative workers because they know creativity fosters critical thinking and innovation, which leads to business success.

Music and art classes don't have to be limited to school days. Parents and grandparents can have a significant impact on inspiring a love of the arts in children. By simply talking about the arts, taking children to exhibits or performances, they begin to see the value of the arts and how it flows into everyday living.

Robin Berlinsky is the executive director of Engaging Creative Minds, a local organization focused on helping students succeed through imagination and innovation. ECM is working with a number of area schools through a public/private partnership.

Berlinsky offers up six tips to gets kids thinking, doing and loving art, music, dance and more.

1. When creating your own art, focus on the process over the product.


2. Discuss art with your child. After a dance, ask your child what he/she liked or didn't like and why.


3. Talk about how a particular painting, musical score or dance makes you feel.


4. Before attending a performance, listen to the soundtrack, read the book or engage in some of the dances; really experience what you are about to see. After the performance, discuss how it met or didn't meet your expectations.


5. Talk about why artists may have made the decisions they made. Discuss color, texture, design, choreography, musical scores, etc.


6. Don't be afraid to get messy! Paint with your elbows, dance in the mud, sing off key. Really embrace art and the creativity it stimulates.


The overall idea is to make art fun. Don't worry if you don't know the names of famous artists or if you can't tell a plié from a pirouette. You don't even have to play an instrument to appreciate a breath-taking piano solo or toe-tapping jazz band.

Art is about the experience, soaking in the feelings it inspires. That's what you pass along to children - a sensation that life is better because of music, art, dance and theater.

So make plans to attend an upcoming concert or show. Many theatres offer children's productions during the year and public art festivals provide plenty of free and low-cost entertainment.