"The Arts Deserve More Respect": Lexia Tomlinson

According to Wikipedia, the arts refers to the theory and physical expression of creativity found in human societies and cultures. Major constituents of the arts include literature – including poetry, prose and drama, performing arts – among them music, dance, and theatre; and visual arts – including drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, sculpting, and architecture – and even the art of designing and constructing buildings.
Some art forms combine a visual element with performance (e.g. cinematography) or artwork with the written word (e.g. comics)
The arts are therefore an integral part of the development of each human being. Those who have studied learning processes throughout the ages, beginning with Plato, have emphasized the importance of the arts in not only the education process but society at large.
United Kingdom arts prectitioner, Lexia Tomlinson concurs and goes on to add that the value of the arts cannot be understated and that it is a field that deserves a lot more support, respect and funding than it normally gets.
"When I talk about the value of arts and culture to society, I always start with its intrinsic value: However, I also need the wider society to understand that arts and culture has a wider, more measurable impact on our economy, health and wellbeing, society and education.
"Here in the UK throughout the recession and up to the present day the arts sector is the fastest growing. In 2015 alone, organisations and individual practitioners contributed £27bn to the economy. Then there is tourism built on festivals, concerts, theatre shows, people going to the cinema.
"The arts do not only entertain but they help educate and raise awareness on a number of issues that affect our society as well. Honestly, it is a sector that needs more respect and funding", said Lexia Tomlinson, speaking to Urban Craft from her base in Birmingham.
She herself was of course fortunate enough to be introduced to the arts at a very young age and has not looked back since!
"I got involved in the arts through exposure at school when I was eleven. Here in the UK we have a thing called a ‘Leavers Assembly’; my grandfather had just passed away back home in Jamaica, and my family decided it was best I stay home and be there for the last of Primary school/and the assembly. My character in the play had to cry, and I used my real emotional sadness to cry in character, at the end everyone came up to me and told me how wonderful I was at performing. And I’ve had the bug ever since!
"I was fortunate enough to go to a Secondary School that specialised in the arts. I got to learn more and more about drama, dance and music. This led me to specialise in drama.
"I am also a Poet and Spoken Word Artist and I got involved with that due to one of my A-level Language teacher’s, who recognised my love for poetry and talent and suggested I enter a writing competition. I won and got published in a young person’s anthology. That win gave me the confidence to find out more about the poetry industry and actually value my skill as a writer", she said.
To the 23 year old, her journey thus far has been nothing short of "exciting, scary, draining, but at the same time so fulfilling!" and she has a lot of memories to look back on.
"Memorable moments in my acting career are graduating in the performing arts, getting into National Youth Theatre, and signing with my acting agency. In 2017 I did my first official radio pay for the BBC called Jesus Piece and getting to play my hero Nanny of the Maroons at Belgrade Theatre.
"Memorable poetry highlights include walking into Waterstones and picking up anthologies and finding my work in them! Headlining at festivals like Wychwood and Cheltenham Poetry", she said.
Art has not only had an impact on her professional career but it has also had an influence on a more personal level for Lexia.
"I used to be a very shy child and I had emotional traumas that were never really addressed, acting gave me the space to use all those emotions. It was cathartic and a creative release.
"My arts training has also made me disciplined, resilient and tenacious", said Tomlinson.
The multi-disciplinary artist who specializes in drama and poetry describes herself as an 'emerging' talent is grateful for the journey so far but is also cognisant of the fact that she needs to 'graft' more.
"I am what is known as an ‘emerging’ talent, which means you’ve been grafting for years (working) and people within the industry know you or of you and you have a few high profile performances and projects to your name but you still have to work a second job.
"I have come pretty far in my chosen industries, I have professional plays, performances, festivals and been published. Which I am abundantly grateful for. However I need to graft more and get things like a spoken word EP produced, have books of just my own entire collection and star in some feature films!
"But life is a journey and my journey is going at the speed that it needs to go so I am prepared for each stage of my life and career", said Lexia.