“THE ART OF YOUTH CELEBRATION”
(A Fundraising Benefiting MCCOY)
Indianapolis Art Center
September 28, 2007
OUR ARTS, OUR SPIRIT, OUR HUMANITY
Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
The great Indian poet, songwriter, singer and musician, actor,
artist, philanthropist, humanitarian, and enlightened teacher,
Rabindranath Tagore, reminds us that:
“Every child comes with a message that God is not yet despaired
I take it to mean that here on earth we too must welcome and
cherish each life that God has sent to us and help it to grow,
prosper, and reach its fullness and potential. The Sikh scriptures
remind us that: “God is the Father and Mother of all Creation
and we are all God’s Children” and “Every
living being is a repository of Divine Light.” Serving others
with all gifts entrusted to us by our Creator is a major commandment
and honored tradition in the Sikh faith.
The Indian poet offers another universal vision, a deep yearning,
and prayer to imagine a place where some basic human and sacred
rights are not a dream but a solemn commitment:
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free,
And the world is not broken up into fragments by narrow domestic
Some scholars and admirers see this poem, originally in Bengali,
as a universal anthem for all humanity; a fervent hope and prayer
for all people, cultures, and nations. It is a lofty dream, but
then dreams are supposed to be lofty. Such a place and spirit
is well within the realm of possibility in this blessed land.
We have to believe, work hard to see that everyone experiences
the glow of such freedoms from fear, ignorance, or prejudice.
We can say that the American renaissance and promise is gradually
expanding and someday we would all be able to affirm:
The unexpected and unimagined is possible here.
Labor and creativity, without distinction, are rewarded;
Great dreams are invented and given amazing shapes everyday.
I offer a few thoughts about arts offering some needed light to
our spirit and humanity:
ARTS AS AN ANCHOR AND A LIVING FORCE
Our arts, spirit, and humanity are inextricably intertwined, with
each impacting the others in significant ways, drawing strength
and inspiration from the others, and giving shape, distinct character
and definition to the others. Arts are an adventure, a life-anchor
for all generations.
Arts are the audio-visual, sensory, colorful, and creative expressions
and reflections of our spirit and humanity. Our arts - song and
music, dance and theater, literature and writings, architecture
and fine arts, and other elements – culture, history, heritage,
foods, festivals, traditions, and celebrations offer an intimate
composite portrayal of the human journey.
Arts span many formidable distinct and diverse experiences that
enrich and form our societal and cultural perspectives and perceptions,
invite us to find common places within our universal hopes and
collective visions. Arts reveal many unique and shared thresholds;
inspire us to bridge and transcend the unfamiliar; dispel the
unfounded and unjust stereotype. The arts help us see life through
fresh prisms that reveal new intimate and uncommon connections
amidst our diverse origins, history, heritage, cultural spectrums,
and hoped-for destinations.
Arts are a window to the human soul. Arts provide a sense of
human interests, imagination, dreams, discipline, stirrings, sensitivities,
and sensibilities. Arts offer an intimate excursion into the human
mind and emotions, our spiritual and cultural journey, and human
evolution. The arts transport our spirit into realms that make
our temporal experiences a natural extension of that which is
beyond our sight and imagination, outside our familiar and imagine
BEAUTY AND LESSONS ENSHRINED IN THE ARTS
There are lessons for our spirit and humanity embedded and reflected
in our arts. We create, advocate, and celebrate our world through
the arts. We understand the importance of arts in teaching, learning,
communicating and stimulating human imagination, and uplifting
the human spirit through a myriad of beautiful and magnificent
Through the arts, we record changing trends and transitions;
introduce, transmit, and mold our ideas; create sensual pleasures
and objects and icons of deep reverence; connect civilizations
and bridge generations; embellish the human universe with fresh
creative textures. Throughout human history, more than any other
endeavor or pursuit, the arts have unleashed new energy, records
and revelations, and great triumphs of imagination to revolutionize
ARTS AS A MAJOR ECONOMIC POWER
Besides being a tremendous source of human interest and enrichment,
arts represent an economic power that generates millions of jobs
and vast marketplaces for exchange. Arts also represent intense
search for great innovations, creative excellence, investments,
and global outreach.
As an integral part of everything we see, imagine, experience,
or encounter, the arts transcend spatial, cultural, and spiritual
boundaries; arts are a wonderful resource to motivate, excite,
challenge, and transform us in profound ways, and bring us face
to face with cultures, creativity vastly different from our own.
Arts are a powerful, inspiring friendship force.
THE MASTER WITHIN
There is an artist within each one of us. We need to discover
and nurture this inherent faculty,
our own unique spirit-force. Arts have the power to bring out
the best in us, make us look at life in new ways. That is when
arts become a formidable force for change and help direct our
energies from ordinary to extraordinary, mundane to memorable,
from just a simple interest to developing a liberating passion
that enlarges our understanding of life, leads us to its many
splendors. Our Great Masters have ushered many a landmark renaissance
that proudly embraced the spirit of a generation, or captured
an entire civilization in its promise and radiance.
BEYOND THE DAILY MADNESS
In a world heavily invested in maddening confrontations and often
at odds with itself at every turn over culture, religion, ethnicity,
poverty or prosperity, geography or history, and host of other
reasons, the arts offer a pleasant alternative, unifying force,
an affirmation, and a spiritual sanctuary. The supreme ability
to create, interpret and illuminate, and integrate the arts into
our societal fabric has proven to steady our daily pressures,
change our world in constructive ways, and enhance the under-served
promise of generations and nations.
The arts fascinate us. We know that life is art and arts imitate
life. Arts are not the domain of a few; arts are for everyone.
Arts are the remarkable creative markers and milestones of the
human journey, experiences, and a testimony of man in search of
his promise, his true destiny. Today, we see human soul mirrored
in our arts and the arts stare back at us in disbelief when we
do not honor the timeless lessons and profound wisdoms enshrined
in our arts.
POWER TO EMANCIPATE
Arts have the power to emancipate us by awakening our collective
moral accountability and responsibility to our time, place, spirit,
and each other. We must preserve, invest, and celebrate our treasured
arts not as an afterthought but as a major priority and solemn
commitment to assure their rightful place and significance to
our spirit, especially to our young creative minds.
We must encourage our youth, early and often, to look at their
future with a greater sense of urgency and responsibility to themselves
and to their communities. We must create programs that are innovative
and imaginative and that help harness the strengths and build
character of our youth. We must reward the “content of character
and not the color of their skin,” ethnicity, cultural traditions,
or country of origin. We must keep our eyes on the prize: to create
a generation of model world-class citizens. As no other generation
before them, our youth will be dealing with an increasingly complex,
exceptionally aggressive, competitive world at many levels and
in ways beyond their comfort zones. Diversity is our new frontier
MCCOY: A CATALYST FOR POSITIVE CHANGE, OTHER EFFORTS
MCCOY is committed to offering a vision for our youth: to explore
creative outlets and productive alternatives that can guide them
into safe havens and a bright future. MCCOY works with other major
community and service organizations and sponsors to bring opportunities
within the reach of youth. Too many of our kids are distracted
or being swept away in the avalanche of easily available drugs,
joining gangs, and embracing a culture of sex and violence that
pose tremendous dangers to themselves and a major menace to society.
MCCOY tries to steer our youth into programs that reinforce a
greater sense of pride, develop their many assets and skills.
We applaud the efforts of MCCOY and others and hope many others
will join in recognizing our youth’s enormous untapped potential
and helping our youth with programs, activities, facilities, and
needed resources for expanded creative involvements.
As they say “great ideas are wonderful, but something
must be done about them.” Each of us can assist in this
noble endeavor. We are the “village” that must help
our youth to succeed and achieve great things. Let us build upon
the many initiatives already in place; seek additional resources
and reinforce our sometimes shaken trust in future generations.
Let us make sure that the new Asian or Hispanic youth is included
in our endeavors to help all Hoosier youth, lest the new immigrant
may be tempted to slide into similar trends as are out there destroying
other youth. Let us teach our youth skills-for-living, how to
succeed and excel in the tough global environment, become proud
and responsible citizens, tomorrow’s new leaders. Let us
not think of this in half-hearted terms. We must resolve to invest
in their future in a timely and sustained manner. We have a generation
to mentor to lead us forward to unimagined possibilities!
“Let your imagination stretch beyond the fathomable,
Your mind study the wisdom of Ages and cultures,
Your gifts and endeavors shape the moment and the Eternity.
Let your spirit witness the splendor and Majesty in the Divine,
Your heart listen to the universal songs of the Soul,
Your prayers and meditations honor the Sacred in each living being.”
-The Art and Spirit of K.P. Singh ~Selected Drawings and Writings
Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA