But given that this is our annual arts issue—my favorite of the year—and that there has been no time in our history that the arts have been as maligned and undervalued as they are today, I feel compelled to use my space in part to encourage you to find some artistic or cultural outlet in your own life.
To paraphrase staff members at the National Endowment for the Arts: “The arts matter because they help us to understand how we matter.”I believe the arts are one of the most important facets of any civilization, they endure where other representations of a people do not. They enhance young minds in more ways than we can yet calculate when allowed to thrive in schools. The arts inspire, entertain and delight us all, and in some, they even can build a yearning for greatness.
Our trip was ripe with visits to cultural landmarks, including a second visit to the museum of famed Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, built by director Hayao Miyazaki. Japanese animation may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the arts, but the sheer imagination, the quality of the illustrations and creativity of the stories render in me that yearning.
My recommended viewing for the unitiated: Academy Award-winning “Spirited Away” (2001), “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988), “Princess Mononoke” (1997), “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2004), “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” (1984) and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” (1989).