I was honored at the “Live on CET!” gala Wednesday evening. My deep affection for and role in supporting local public television has been a huge part of my life over the years and CET is dear to my heart. In fact, this summer begins my tenure as chair of the board of trustees of our region’s public media service. But what we really should be celebrating is the invaluable role that CET plays in our community as an arts connector, bringing the world stage to Cincinnati and showcasing the arts in our community.
Local public television networks like CET bring the arts into the living rooms of every home on every street in every neighborhood in our community, no matter how fashionable or unfashionable. PBS makes the claim, and I think it’s a fair one, that no one brings more art to more Americans than PBS. By delivering the beauty of the arts to every home, CET holds in their hands the power to open eyes, ears, hearts and minds in the least likely of places.
I think John Updike underscores the real value of that when describing what he thinks about when he writes: “When I write, I aim in my mind not toward New York but toward a vague spot a little to the east of Kansas. I think of the books on library shelves, without their jackets, years old, and a countryish teenaged boy finding them, and having them speak to him.” This is also what we should think about when we support CET.
When some nervous young person in our community first walks into Music Hall and the first note from the orchestra lights upon their ear, just perhaps that journey began in a very unlikely living room. A very unlikely living room where that young mind was first opened to a world of possibilities and awakened to the magic of the arts through CET.
That’s what we do every day at CET and at our sister station ThinkTV in Dayton. With your help, we’ll continue to do it and do it even better with innovative ideas like our new, dedicated arts channel, CETarts. In doing so, we honor those who lead, curate, orchestrate, choreograph, conduct and direct the arts in the service of our community, in the service of our common humanity. It’s their roles and CET’s role in our community that should be honored for all they do for us.
Art ignites, art provokes, art empowers, art inspires, art celebrates—but most of all art is alive and well in our communities, and we have public television and CET to thank for that.