The “Magic of Metal” exhibit was a free outdoor exhibit of contemporary American sculptures presented to honor the importance of metal in the history of the county and Indiana during the state’s Bicentennial Year. The juried show of abstract outdoor public art featured the works of fifteen professional Midwestern sculptors. The exhibit was the result of the efforts of the Auburn Arts Commission and sponsors such as Metal Technologies, Steel Dynamics, and numerous individual donors.
The Auburn Arts Commission, a volunteer group of “little old women around a kitchen table,” so to speak, has morphed into a dynamic organization which must be commended for its vision and success in making Auburn become known as “that artsy little town” north of Fort Wayne.
When I think about classic writings, I am reminded of an English teacher, Hubert Stackhouse, who so believed in the importance of children becoming acquainted with classic works, that he purchased many sets of the following five books to give to young parents with the admonishment that they read them to their children. The books are: Stuart Little by E.B. White, Winnie-the-Pooh by Milne, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham, and The Bears of Blue River by Charles Major. Now deceased, Mr. Stackhouse had no children and he wasn’t an elementary school teacher, but he had the vision, resources, and interest to do this of his own accord. He was an extraordinary teacher.
An excellent essay about the classics was written many years ago by Arnold Bennett. His “Why a Classic is a Classic” states that a classic has great and universal appeal, is maintained by a passionate few who find a keen and lasting pleasure in it, and is rediscovered by succeeding generations, who also find a keen and lasting pleasure in the subject.
Of course Bennett discussed other facets about the subject, but whether one refers to cars, art in all its forms and genres, or even quality of life, the word “classic” carries cache and panache. In this day and era when pop culture seems to laud the lowest common denominator of human behavior, American society could well utilize a dash of the classics. It takes vision, resources, and dedicated action. I know some individuals whose interpretation of a life well lived reflects what Goethe said, “One ought everyday at least to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”