An Arts Advocacy Conversation in Lynchburg, VA

By     Mar 23, 2015
Executive Director, Academy Center for the Arts

Geoffrey Kershner

I spoke with Anna Bentson, the Assistant Director of the City of Lynchburg's Office of Economic Development, about how she views and values art. What most struck me is that her early childhood contact with art and artists was through her family and in turn that has influenced how she values and views art in her life today. Her relationship to art is personal and I think this gets to the core of a very valuable lesson.

Anna's family was filled with musicians. She said, "My grandparents were musicians (actually from a long line of professional musicians) so some of my earliest "arts" memories were hearing my grandfather practice the sax or clarinet and my grandmother teaching piano lessons." I knew that Anna cares for and supports the arts through my work with her, but I did not know that it was personal. I think we take for granted how many people, who are all around us, have a deep and personal connection to both artists and the arts in their lives, whether they themselves are artists or not. I have known Anna for quite some time and consider her a good friend and yet, I did not know the deep and personal relationship she has to music and artistry. Our relationship runs deeper than I previously understood because the arts has personal significance to both of us. I wonder how many more of my neighbors share this with me? I think it may be time to find out.