You are the owner of this article.

GUEST COLUMN: A new haven of wonder

Greyson Oswalt-Smith, guest columnist

Greyson Oswalt-Smith is a guest columnist for Rome News-Tribune

You are spending your day off at Ridge Ferry Park, taking in the scenery while walking to burn off that doughnut you ate downtown. It’s a quiet, cold afternoon. A perfect setting for you to collect your thoughts and ponder all of life’s questions. The sun’s reflection off the river to your right is subtle, but intense enough to make the river hint a sparkle occasionally. The birds are chirping, adding a beat to the soft melody of the river. You continue to walk past your usual stopping point. You pass the hill leading to the plaza to your left and carry on the path less traveled. The end of this path is no mystery, but you choose to visit with the hope for a small hint of nostalgia.

As you approach the end of the trail, you see the Rome-Floyd County Library, but just before that you see a small assemblage of people quietly congregating near the large tree that sits at the edge of the natural dip. You walk over to see what the purpose is. You walk up to a small amphitheater. It contains artwork from local artists and other similar pieces. You stay longer than you expected in admiration and astonishment. You look at the art and feel a new sense of wonder and deep thought. Time has escaped you. You walk away, astonished that your small town had individuals with such skill and talent, skill and talent that reawakened your intellectual curiosity.

Floyd County has approved an addition to our local library, an amphitheater. This amphitheater is in dedication to a Mr. Charles Sennett III. The amphitheater will be a prominent place for local artists to display their own artwork, and will be a haven of wonder that will promote appreciation of the arts and intellectual curiosity.

Are the fine arts a necessary element of human affairs in a contemporary sense? I scream that they most certainly are! Before I continue, I do promote the increase in trade-specific jobs such as welding, carpentry, and the like, however the arts must be promoted for those who show an interest or inclination to such. As for myself, I thoroughly enjoy literature, enough so to engage in the art. I also enjoy being a spectator of music and theater. Others will have none of it. More practical men will not indulge in the philosophical and the arts. One may ask what benefits come with the promotion of the fine arts?  A number of benefits are readily observed! To select one because of my limited allowance of space, I would elaborate on the benefit of critical thinking. A painting or pamphlet is not solely created to please the eye, there is generally a significance behind it. Observers are tasked with the duty of interpreting the work. Whether they are right or wrong is of no importance, what is important is one’s own emotional inspiration and satisfaction that comes about through interpretive critical thinking.

Intellectual curiosity is very much awakened through the fine arts. It creates a sense of wonder. When looking at a painting of a large vast landscape, I am humbled. When I hear music, my mind travels to how that song is applicable to myself, my surroundings, or life’s questions. Watching a play or listening to an oration can give me insight into the life of others and a new lens or perspective in which to view and assess a question or problem. Also, art that references history causes me to ask many questions and place myself in their shoes. I see the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, and I feel a sense of pride, pity and curiosity. Pride that our country was built on grit and ambition; pity because many soldiers were barely clothed and fed, yet they ventured through the near impossible; and curiosity fills me because I want to learn more about the event I am only witnessing a snapshot of.

There is ample opportunity for local artists to showcase their work and rise above their station to chase their dreams. Future playwrights will have a stage to showcase their dramas in front of a local audience. Orators will have an attendant audience to vocalize their  concerns and praises. Artists will have a setting for spectators to freely view their work. The people of Rome, Georgia, are smart and will remember those who continuously display satisfactory work. Their name will be more than a word on a plaque, it has the potential to be a part of common conversation. In this, the artist, orator or playwright will have the capability to network with officials and others who engage in the same. This gives our local artists a stage in which they can fly above their current situation and launch their career in a larger, more popular platform.

Overall, the amphitheater will be a positive, beneficial and culture-building addition to the Rome-Floyd Library and our beautiful city. Romans will benefit by being exposed to the fine arts, something that seems to have evaporated from everyday America. This will increase intellectual curiosity, creativity and critical and cultural thinking in our city. Artists, orators, and playwrights will benefit by having an additional, local platform in which to show their work to the public. This will provide networking for the better artists so that they may advance in their careers, chasing their dreams. We must not only promote the utility of science and mathematics, however practical they are in our modern day and age, we must also promote the finer arts, because they provide benefits to society just as much as STEM professions. Once construction is complete sometime in 2018, I hope you can take a walk down to the library and view the new haven of wonder that is will be the amphitheater!

Greyson Oswalt-Smith is a political science major at Kennesaw State University who plans on going to law school. He enjoys being politically involved locally, and serves on the Sara Hightower Board of Trustees. He may be reached at