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Art saves lives. Healthy communities have a healthy art scene.

From Chicago to Boston to Washington, D.C., to Laguna Beach to San Luis Obispo and now to Gilroy, I have seen and participated in “the magic of art.”

Gilroy is a canvas just waiting for more texture to complete a masterpiece.

I taught art to Gilroy youth for nearly 30 years (mostly at-risk). I volunteered with Kids Discover Arts to make sure we “Kept the Arts Alive.” When I arrived in Gilroy, there wasn’t an art supply store; there was no art center. I was at the Willey House with the Theater Arts Angels when we planned the Gilroy Art Center. I bore witness to what the arts can do to change lives. I have taught many of the people you know. I spent my summers teaching art, “The Artist Within.” Many of my former students have become published poets, artists and pillars of our community. One of my former students has recently opened Pour Me Taproom in downtown Gilroy. I am grateful for the support I received throughout my teaching tenure to help me elevate my students through the arts. Without my community’s help with supplies and funding, there would not have been so much magic. 

Art is a vital catalyst for dreams. It takes anger and replaces it with empathy, compassion and hope.  

Don Krug states, “Learning about ideas can invite questions from students about their sense of place in the world. What forms of inquiry are needed in order for students to investigate everyday issues within their own communities nationally and globally? Life-centered approaches encourage inquiry as a means for understanding ideas as part of lifelong learning. In this way, learning is part of continuous processes of critically investigating and generating knowledge and not acquiring content as an end in itself (Perkins and Blythe, 1994; Perrone, 1994). Life-centered issues encompass a broad range of subjects and reflect interpretations of people’s social interests and differences.” 

Sadly, art seems to dissipate in public schools, so…

“Keep the Arts Alive!”

Be a partner by elevating the Gilroy arts’s scene. Connect with the Gilroy Art’s & Culture Commission, Gilroy Arts Roundtable and Silicon Valley Creates. As with any great composition it takes separate parts coming together to create the “whole picture.” The arts play a critical role in developing stronger solution-oriented minds while building a stronger, thriving community. 

Richard “Rick” Charvet


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