Practicing An Attitude of Gratitude

Pacific Symphony’s arts-X-press program, an arts immersion summer program for middle school students [focused on creative risk taking, individual exploration and community building], continues remotely this fall. The arts-X-press remote program which launched this summer, AXP@Home, presented its alumni workshop series last week with the “Attitude of Gratitude” workshop, a Thanksgiving-themed afternoon that focused on the spirit of appreciation.

Pacific Symphony’s arts-X-press program, an arts immersion summer program for middle school students, continues this fall. The arts-X-press remote program which launched this summer, AXP@Home, presented its alumni workshop series last week with the “Attitude of Gratitude” workshop, a Thanksgiving-themed afternoon that focused on the spirit of appreciation.

Arts-X-press creative expression instructor, Mohammad Jaffrey, led our group. No stranger to giving back, Mohammad has been named Disneyland’s volunteer of the year and attended arts-X-press as a student. He explained how gratitude can be viewed as a muscle. “The more you do it, the easier it becomes to practice and express to other people. Gratitude can help people feel valued, and it’s always feels nice to be appreciated.”

In a time when our lives are “especially inundated with screens, it’s important to come back to yourself,” Jaffrey emphasized. This can also foster healthy social habits regarding screen-time limitations, as “it is important to express and show gratitude for our loved ones by being present with them rather than be distracted by technology.”

Students then created their very own “gratitude jars.” Jaffrey encouraged students to keep these jars and fill them with various notes and items that echo moments of thanks or random acts of kindness in their lives.

Whether it’s the special people in our lives or the little things that keep us going every day—from music and books to the fresh smell of hot chocolate and the oxygen from trees that allows us to breathe—students took this time to consider the positive things in their lives. Mohammad empowered students to write and send letters to two important people that they’re thankful for, whether it be family members, friends, or teachers.

The Attitude of Gratitude workshop served as a perfect introspective moment to pause and reflect. It was riveting to see the students’’passions and personalities come forth even more as we continue to strengthen the bond within this amazing arts-X-press community. Instructor Jaffrey encouraged us all to see gratitude as an active and ongoing practice—something we can all collectively take part in to make the world a more inclusive and thankful place.

It’s easy to sometimes get lost in the negativity that 2020 continues to project, but stopping and recognizing the positivity in our lives can surely make a difference in how we can adapt and learn to tackle any new challenges.

We hope that each one of our students enjoyed this exercise in gratitude and will join us again for our next workshop in the AXP@Home Alumni Workshop series—Holiday Diversity Celebration—a winter-holiday-themed workshop taking place on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Please stay tuned to @artsXpress on Instagram and Facebook for updates on registration, news, and content!

Enjoy the Magic of the Season!

Ballerinas, nutcrackers and teddy bears, oh my!

Pacific Symphony’s Online Shop is now open for all your holiday shopping needs. You’ll be able to find unique and distinctive gifts for family, friends and everyone on your list. And at the same time, you’ll be benefiting Pacific Symphony!

Here are some ideas for the choosier people on your holiday list:

And while you’re at it, why not select something fun for yourself? It’s all for a good cause. All Store purchases benefit Pacific Symphony’s education and community engagement programs.

SPECIAL: For a limited time, you can receive a free holiday gift with every purchase or, for orders over $50, you’ll receive free shipping in addition to your free holiday gift.

The Future of the Arts in the Coming Year

What do the coming years hold for the arts under a new presidential administration? As The New York Times writes, “If Mr. Biden’s tastes run to 1967 Corvettes, Grisham novels and ‘Crocodile Rock,’ he is, nonetheless, someone arts leaders say has always embraced the practical usefulness of the arts as an economic engine, political action trigger and community builder.”

Robert L. Lynch, president and chief executive of Americans for the Arts says that the president-elect’s attitude is “less from a consumer point of view and more about the inspirational value and transformational value of the arts … It’s not, ‘Look, I loved this piece, or this song.’ It’s more about the bigger role of the arts in society.”

If you compare President-elect Joe Biden to a public figure like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a rabid operaphile often seen at The Metropolitan Opera or Santa Fe Opera, Biden doesn’t seem to measure up. When he was Barack Obama’s vice-president for eight years, he attended events at the Kennedy Center and a Washington National Opera gala, among others, but his profile as an arts aficionado seems somewhat modest by comparison to the likes of Justice Ginsburg.

It appears, though, that as a senator and then vice-president, Biden has been a consistent advocate of government funding for the arts. And as recently as last month, Biden won the endorsement of the Actor’s Equity Association, the union for actors and stage managers. No mean feat—this was only the second time in its history that the Actor’s Equity Association has made a presidential endorsement.

“The future—who we are, lies in the arts.”
—President-elect Joe Biden

“Joe Biden will be the most consequential president for the arts industry in a generation,” Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association, said in a statement. “At a time when live entertainment is still largely dark because of the coronavirus, we will finally have a partner in the White House who will create a national strategy to bring the pandemic under control and put everyone in the arts back to work. Until then, we need to reinstate pandemic unemployment so that displaced workers can pay their bills, increase arts funding and finally pass a COBRA subsidy to make health insurance affordable as unemployment stretches on.” 

Robert Lynch commented, “We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to support both the nonprofit arts community as well as independent artists working in the growing gig economy… He understands that the arts are integral to both revitalizing the soul and rebuilding the infrastructure of America.” He concluded by saying, “President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris bring a commitment to get creative workers working again. Our nation needs to capitalize on the abundance of under-employed yet talented creative and racially underrepresented workers in America to aid in the recovery, to unify, and to heal our nation’s communities and economy.”