Toy Cobbe

How the arts have impacted my life

Art has always been a part of my life. Piano and dance classes as a child led to an appreciation and love of music and dance. Art history/appreciation classes in college opened my eyes to the wonders of art throughout the world and its impact on civilization. Visual art classes in high school and college brought home the skills and passion involved in creating any art form. Visits to museums helped me recognize man’s need to create, express and protect the vast collection of art treasures throughout the world.

It wasn’t, however, until I became involved with Piedmont Arts, that I really understood how fortunate I had been to have all these experiences throughout my life. In working with the museum's educational programs, I began to realize how important art is in opening the world to young people.

No example hits home more than an occurrence that happened during Minds in Motion. During a residency at local schools, the program taught students a movement routine that required them to work together and to listen carefully to instructions. Many students gained self-confidence and were the stars of the finale. One such student was a young man who was a frequent behavior problem. His mother was incarceratedand he lived with his grandmother. He bloomed during Minds in Motion! His grandmother came to the final performance and was so proud. He told his teacher the day of the performance that it was the happiest day of his life.

In that moment, I recognized how much art can impact a person’s life, not only that student’s life, but that of his family, his classmates, and, perhaps most of all, me! The impact of art on my life has been boundless, but that experience taught me that art has the power to change lives.

— Toy Cobbe


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