LETTER: United we stand; support the theatre

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015

By E. Ray Walker

It’s sad that some people think arts are only for the elite few. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am a descendant of a long line of Eastern Shore farmers (my father’s roots, going back to the 1600s) and Southwest Virginia coal miners (my mother’s line). I am proud of them all. Even today, I have relatives in both areas who make their livings in the fields and in the mines. I am the son of what one letter writer labels “blue-collar,” “working-class,” “church-going” Virginians. Hardly the makings of an elitist.

This proud redneck (a term I use with sincere affection) also appreciates art in all its many forms: theater, dance, paintings, sculpture, etc. In fact, art enriches my appreciation of what my forebears lived through.

For example, check out the series of “Haystack” paintings by Claude Monet and say you cannot appreciate the hard labor of farmers. Impossible. Or stare for a minute or two at the coal miner works by Vincent van Gogh, and not feel empathy for the proud and courageous miners.

These farmers and miners could be my lineage, and I understand their world better now that I have seen visions of their lives.

It’s unfortunate that some people try to denigrate others along class lines in a feeble and embarrassing attempt to diminish Culpeper as a growing arts center.  We should all stand together against this effort to divide us.

Art is for everyone; support the State Theatre.

E. Ray Walker