Why Arts Matter to Me

image1.jpg                                                                        Drita Protopapa is an entrepreneur, speaker, 
                                                                        interpreter, voice actor and coach, and mother.

Growing up it was clear that the arts were important to my parents. A love and appreciation of music was instilled in my brother and I at an early age. For a long time, I thought that the radio in our home only had 1 station – the classical music station! My parents made sure we both took piano lessons as kids. I also participated in musical theater and all the after-school, extracurricular art offerings that I could squeeze in. On a recent trip to Estonia, I learned that I have many relatives who are either musicians or artists of some kind – including my mother’s “favorite” cousin who was a forest ranger and in his 70s, took to painting watercolors of the forests he loved! MASSCreative is made up of over 400 member organizations and more than 15,000 individuals who believe the arts matter to making our Commonwealth a more vibrant and connected place to live, work and play. Guest Contributor Drita Protopapa shares why she advocates for the arts and supports MASSCreative as an individual member.   

Our love of art was especially important to my mother who was originally from Estonia, where there has always been a lot of emphasis on the arts. My mother was a pianist, a folk dancer, and a painter. She studied piano and learned traditional Estonian folk dancing while still living in Estonia. Before emigrating to the US, my mother spent time in a refugee camp in Germany, where she learned how to paint on fine china – to this day I have many of her teacups and plates as a testimony to her steady hand and artistic abilities.

Now as a mother of three, I have tried to replicate what my parents gave us – a true and long-lasting appreciation of the arts. All three of my children have learned to play the piano and my oldest son is a music producer and beat maker. At the age of three, my daughter started participating in dance and musical theater. She went on to sing with the premier choir of the Boston Children’s Chorus. My youngest, now an 8th grader, is mostly an athlete but one of his athletic endeavors is Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines dance, fight, rhythms and musical instruments.  Capoeira was granted a special protected status as “intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO in 2014 and is often referred to as the world’s most complete sport because it combines physical movement, music, singing, culture and history. 

As someone who works with spoken (and written) language for a living, I think I would say that the arts are a natural form of communication. Young children, before they can even speak, use art and other verbal and nonverbal ways to communicate. Every country, every culture, every language uses the arts as a form of expression and communication. Art, dance, music, theater are universal forms of expression that override geographic demarcations, country borders and cultural or language barriers. Art is a way of bringing people together, sharing ideas, thoughts and feelings. 

I want to ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of creative expression, that’s why I am a member and sustaining supporter of MASSCreative. Arts matter to me, my family, and my community.

Please consider supporting MASSCreative as an individual member or join Drita as a sustaining supporter through a monthly donation.



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