January 11, 2014

Cultural legacy

What kind of cultural legacy is Tomoko building? Just ask one of her former students: Bora Kim --

After completing my graduate studies, I was faced with the ‘real’ conditions of the job market and the looming concerns of pursuing a career. Having nurtured an appreciation for the arts at a young age, I knew that life goals should foremost be driven by one’s passion. If one thing was certain, I wanted to be surrounded by the arts, to be sustained by the creative energies and output of others and myself that shared this singular passion for the arts. Furthermore, if my passion could benefit the society somehow, I knew that it could be something that I could devote my life to.

My work at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council enacts this selfsame vision by bringing art and culture to the New York metropolis, more specifically in the heart of the corporate-dominated Financial District. Our goals are to continually humanize the Lower Manhattan area, to bring art and culture where it is lacking most. In working with artists of various backgrounds and disciplines—visual artists, performing artists, musicians, and writers for example—I have come to witness the beautiful impact that the Arts can have in New York’s otherwise forbiddingly corporate environs.
            Of course, this realization and subsequent motivation were far from innate. They came from years of my own personal devotion to the study of Classical music. If it weren’t for the difficult years of training and what it meant to pour passion into an art form, I would not be able to muster the hard work and dedication into what I do. The teachings and contributions of Tomoko Hagiwara inevitably factor into this, and I consider myself most fortunate to have taken part in her tutelage and guidance. Without her influence, I would not have experienced the transformative aspects of the arts. Classical music, like other art forms, is so fundamentally infused with the human spirit and emotion that it would be inconceivable without passion. It is solely after having tasted what minimal challenges I personally faced in my Classical training and their monumental outcomes, that I can genuflect to the beauty and the necessity of the arts, for the good of our community and society, and most deeply within ourselves.

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