Arts Are For Everyday, For Everyone

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Apple founder Steve Jobs famously disagreed on education and technology—although their opinions were probably closer than they articulated. Both thought the modern education system was in need of a major overhaul.

Gates called for greater emphasis on technology and science education, so that young people could be ready for the jobs of the future—and to help fill the hundreds of thousands of American jobs left unfilled by Americans because we’re not graduating enough engineers, scientists, and mathematicians.

Jobs worried that we’d lost our traditional emphasis on well-rounded education in the humanities and arts, in addition to technology. To Jobs, the role of technology was to help us live fuller lives—intellectually and spiritually. Jobs also worried that today’s technologically trained graduates lacked the creativity to solve problems and work inventively.

It’s likely the two were describing different parts of the same equation. An engineering doctoral candidate who finds time to paint pictures might be happier on and off the job. The math geek who goes to work for Google doesn’t need give up that electric guitar on which he blasted metal in his parents’ garage. There is more to life than work, after all.

Jobs put strict limits on screen time for his kids when they were young. Texting, uploading, and sharing every moment of one’s day were not the point of his inventions. Apple products come with Garage Band so that everyone can learn to compose. The idea of cameras on phones was meant to capture life’s moments, not to make every moment worth sharing.

It’s hard to argue with Gates on the need for science and technology education; it’s also impossible to ignore Jobs’ point that cutting funding for the arts and humanities is another step away from the experience of being human. Our church choirs, for example, will whither away if we don’t instill an appreciation of music.

In my high school—long, long ago—football players and wrestlers were staple members of the chorus in school musicals. Those athletes were the ones who could do the lifting in the fancy Broadway-style choreography.

The performing arts brought together students of all interests and backgrounds. It had the effect of broadening each student’s circle of friends. It captured the best of our education system, in which athletics, arts, extra-curricular activities were part of education—not extras to be whittled away each time our fiscal priorities shift. They were meant to prepare young people for a lifetime of good health and creative living.

In Clarke County, Opus Oaks, the Barns of Rose Hill, and other groups have done so much to help incorporate arts and creativity into a lifetime of enjoyment—not just for kids, but for everyone at every stage of life.

See related story on page 20. Then, visit our Facebook page and tell us a story—a six-word story. It can be fiction, history, biographical. Now that’s something worth sharing!


Paula Costello, 57, of Kearneysville, WV, passed away on Sunday, September 6, 2015 surrounded by her loving family.  She is survived by her loyal husband of 24 years, James Costello, and her son JP “Muggy” Costello. She is also survived by her two step-sons, Carl Brian of Innwood, WV and Kevin Travis, also of Innwood, WV.  Her parents, Anna and Paul Showalter, and her brothers, Kevin and Michael, are also surviving.

Paula was the Executive Director of Help with Housing in Berryville, VA for 20 years. She considered her co-workers, Chris Graham (Project Manager) and Joanne Partlett (Assistant) to be a part of her family.  She proudly served the communities of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties, never wavering in her dedication to assist those less fortunate needing crucial home repairs.  When funds were scarce in the organization, Paula worked from home volunteering her time to ensure that those who needed assistance were taken care of.

Paula was a beautiful soul and never met someone she didn’t consider a friend.  She opened her home to everyone and welcomed them with open arms.  Her family and friends will miss her and remember her kindness, generosity, and love for years to come.  She has truly left an outstanding legacy.