Random Acts of Culture is an intriguing program that takes classical music out of the concert hall and into… well, shopping malls, farmers markets, trains and basically any place there’s a captive audience. Here is a recent video from the Mall of America, featuring musicians from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. How would you like some Mozart to go with your dish towels? (They appear to be in the home section of Macy’s.)
The Knight Foundation, sponsor of the program, explains the purpose this way:
We strongly believe in the potential of the arts to engage residents, and bring a community together. Hearing Handel, or seeing the tango in an unexpected place provides a deeply felt reminder of how the classics can enrich our lives. As you’ll see in our videos, the performances make people smile, dance, grab their cameras – even cry with joy. For those brief moments, people going along in their everyday lives are part of a shared, communal experience that makes their community a more vibrant place to live. In these days of shrinking audiences, we also hope that these random acts will encourage people to attend traditional performances.
This seems to echo several of the ideas we’ve been exploring about “community” over the last few weeks — the need for personal connection, the return to music as a part of everyday life, etc. Certainly this program serves mainly to delight and surprise, but is there a way for “random” to become “regular” in people’s lives?