This is the second interview of the ”Where are we now?” series. Please take a look at the INTRODUCTION AND INDEX to this series. If you would like to suggest someone for me to interview, please leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would especially appreciate information on how to get in touch with the artists you recommend—or I would love to hear from you if you are in the arts and can offer yourself for an interview.
Interview with Vivian Doublestein
26 March 2010
IA: Please tell us about yourself. In what media do you create or perform? Do you also teach? Are you also a student? Please talk about yourself as an “artist,” student of the arts, teacher of the arts, thinker-about-the arts, etc.
VD: My name is Vivian Doublestein and I am the founder and Executive Director of The Master’s Academy of Fine Arts, which I began 20 years ago. I began my foray into the arts at the tender age of three when I started to play piano. My mother is a piano teacher and my father a piano tuner, so learning to play the piano was as natural for me as learning to read or walk. I graduated from the College of Wooster in 1978, with a Bachelor of Music degree. I finished my Master’s degree at Michigan State University in 2003 with an emphasis in accompanying and chamber music. I pursued a career as a professional accompanist for several years, working at several universities on staff.
After moving to Atlanta in 1989, we began homeschooling our three children and I realized that there was absolutely no emphasis being placed on the value of the arts and their importance to the educational development of children. At that point, I began The Master’s Academy of Fine Arts.
Our proprietary form of arts education focuses on learning the arts in their historical context. Each year we study one of the six time periods of the arts (Ancient, Medieval/Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern). Within those time periods the students study history, art, drama and music and as a result learn to grasp concepts that encompass a larger view of the time period rather than just distinct elements such as one musical work, or one painting.
IA: What topics tend to recur in your work or the work that you study?
VD: I am always fascinated with the idea of connessione: Leonardo’s concept that all things are connected and interrelated. I am always fascinated to study history, understand how people were thinking at the time, and then see it played out in various forms, from scientific discoveries, to medical advances to writing and music and art. All things are related and if we begin to understand the connections, I believe we are much more likely to be grounded in our philosophies and values.
IA: Do you think of yourself as belonging to any particular ‘school’ or ‘movement’?
VD: I have always been and will always be a Romantic, and as such I think I embody the ideals of that time period. I seek beauty and creativity at all costs. I think it is a reaction to the technological advances in this period of history. When everything is about computers and numbers, beauty is removed from the culture and without it we become mere machines. I always seek to bring freedom, creativity and beauty to everyone and everything my life touches. This means taking time to prepare beautiful meals and serve them on pretty dishes. It means choosing to listen to beautiful music while I work in a beautiful room. It means having fresh flowers in the house, and handwriting notes on beautiful stationary. It means foregoing the “big box” stores in favor of unique boutiques and galleries to find unique and beautiful gifts and accessories. It is all about reflecting the beauty that God put into the order of His creation. To be sure, I could not do my job without the advances of technology, but without the beauty promoted within the Romantic Movement, we would have all long since been gobbled up by the Industrial Revolution and the Technology Revolution.
IA: Where are we going?
VD: I am very excited about the future of the arts and particularly their effect on culture, for I think we have entered the Creative Revolution. All indicators, including business development, economics, community growth and well-being, and even education, all point to a shift to a focus on creativity and its ramifications for the foreseeable future. Daniel Pink, in A Whole New Mind, comments on this extensively. “The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of ‘left brain’ dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which ‘right brain’ qualities—inventiveness, empathy, meaning—predominate.” Studies from the Arts Education Partnership have done multiple studies proving the rise in creativity and how it is driving our cultures. I for one am excited to see what will come from this new focus!