#Right to Bear Arts!

#Right to Bear Arts!

HollywoodOn Productions: Janet Donovan & Brendan Kownacki
Photo credit: Brendan Kownacki

“We need creative thinkers to solve our climate problems, our immigration problems, political issues. We need creative thinkers to find solutions to all of our problems. Creativity is a muscle that every child is born with, and if that muscle is not exercised it will atrophy and it will die, and we will be a pedantic, militaristic bunch of robots who are not having a creative conversation about how to deal with our issues; so the arts are the exercises for that muscle,” said actor Tim Daly (think Madame Secretary), President of The Creative Coalition, at their WHCA pre-dinner event at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. “The arts are not something that is meaningless. It’s like the arts are a vaccination against all kinds of social ills. We Americans are very good at rushing into crises and putting our time and money and energy behind something that has gone wrong. The arts can keep those things from going wrong. If we teach our children art and keep their imaginations alive, keep their creativity alive, they won’t get into these situations that cause our society so much pain and heartache.”

Tim Daly

Hollywood on the Potomac has interviewed Tim many times before and his passion for the arts seems to intensify each time.  On this night, we learned more about his personal interest in the arts which is why we are focusing on him.  He told guests at the gala event something he had never revealed publicly before.  The story was sad, raw, but insightful and so triumphant that we want to share this:

“I’ve always felt a little ashamed and embarrassed because I consider myself a really privileged person, but this is the reality of my life: I grew up in a little town outside of New York City and my dad left when I was eight,” he relayed.  “I was living with my mom in a big house and my mom was very very sick. She was a terrible alcoholic.  I was kind of a lonely kid, but I still had my imagination. I went to a school where I participated in the arts. But there are about five years of my life that I don’t remember at all because it was so bad in my household. I eventually went to a school where I was immersed in the arts, and I felt that it started to save me. But what happened was because of a lot of the trauma that I experienced, by the time I was 18, I was a knock-down, drag-out, blackout drunk at 18 years old. I was an alcoholic, I had a terrible drug problem, and I was an expert at hiding it. So I was functioning very well in the world, but I was on the verge at all times of killing someone, killing myself, of doing great damage because I was in so much trouble with my illness. The only thing that saved me was the theater. It was the one thing in my life, the one thing that I knew would give me some structure, would give me some hope, would exercise my imagination, would help me envision a future that was different from the one that I may have been headed for.”

Photo credit: Janet Donovan

“I was lucky enough to be working at a little theater company in Providence, Rhode Island, that was started by a $5000 [donation] and has turned into one of the best regional theaters in the country – a Tony-award winning regional theater. I was in desperate shape, and the only thing that got me sober and got me into rehab and got me some help was the idea that I could envision my life being better than it was, and that’s because somehow, in all the stuff that I experienced, my imagination stayed alive. So that is my story about how I became an artist and what it meant to me, and I would venture to say that that same story is true for a lot of people who are in trouble. Not to say that they will become professional actors or artists, but because if their imagination is awakened, their creativity is alive, they can figure out a way to change their circumstances in a true, good way. So that’s what the arts did for me.”

Robin Bronk (center)   Photo credit: Janet Donovan

Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition, acknowledged Congressional Members and Sponsors.  Prior to the Gala, Hollywood on the Potomac interviewed celebrities on the Red Carpet: