What Is Arts Undivided?

Tim Farrand

Why Arts Undivided?

The idea for Arts Undivided came out of my experience as a musician, life-long student, and human being. I have always had an insatiable curiosity but I also struggle with being afraid to jump in and try something new.

In the past, I have often let my curiosity be held back by a fear of the unknown. I felt safe when I was in a familiar domain but at the same time I could never feel comfortable if I wasn't learning something new.

Arts Undivided is the result of my commitment to letting my curiosity lead my exploration. It is a mission to myself to step outside of the barriers and fears that hold me back and encourage others to do the same.


Oftentimes, my passion for exploration has filled me with guilt.

During my time in school, I was focused on trying to find the one career path that would lead to the fulfillment of all the desires I had for what I wanted to do.

My interests were so varied that I could never stay on one path without exploring another. I have a passion for music and performing, but also for research and writing; I am fascinated by the literature and I am consumed by an insatiable thirst to read anything I can get my hands on; I have a love for bread baking and aspirations to one day open a bakery; I am intrigued by the idea of being a bit nomadic and traveling around from place to place, but I also have a strong drive to become a part of a community.

As I searched for what to focus on, I was always drawn away to another path. Every solution would contradict my other interests.

I found it difficult to commit myself to any one thing.

During my time at school, I felt guilty for neglecting my formal studies in order to spend so much time exploring topics outside my courses.

I spent hours reading, listening to music, cooking, taking walks in nature, as well as exploring anything else that I was curious about.

I would feel ashamed for not dedicating more time to practicing for an upcoming lesson or performance. I often spent my time reading literature, poetry, and nonfiction works that were seemingly disconnected from the projects I was currently working on.


It wasn't until I came to the end of my graduate studies that I realized that all the extra stuff I was exploring were actually what made me who I was and what defined my work.

My artistry was expanded by my interaction with all different art forms and the life experience I was obtaining. The seemingly random rabbit holes I found myself going down made me a better teacher and writer.

As a person, the more I expanded my horizons and broadened my experiences the more open I was in my everyday interactions. 

Now, I find myself less inhibited, less fearful, and more receptive to new ideas or beliefs. I firmly believe that the time I spend exploring the arts and living a full life are what is going to not only make me a better person but also create a sense of fulfillment in my life. 

When Death Comes

I am reminded of the poem “When Death Comes” by Mary Oliver which is really about life rather than death.

More specifically, it focuses on a call to action to live your life in a way that you will not look back with regret at opportunities missed or experiences left on the table.

A challenge to frame your life in a way that allows you to come to the end of your journey and face death with a feeling of curiosity instead of regret.

The last sentence puts it perfectly: "I don't want to end up simply having visited this world."

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

I don't mean to say that you shouldn't work towards mastery in a certain field or area of expertise.

I have always spent hours upon hours developing myself in my own areas of focus.

I simply have the belief that you shouldn't let yourself be consumed solely by your art or your field. Through this platform, I want to share the realization that broadening your horizons will ultimately enhance your abilities as well as your life.

There is a quote attributed to Johannes Brahms that I find useful. The story behind it states that he was asked by some music students what advice he had for them. His response:

Practice one hour less every day, but read one more good book

In an interview, the conductor Sir Simon Rattle expanded upon this idea when asked to give his advice for young conductors:

Listen to everything. Listen to all kinds of music. Read everything. Go and see any art gallery you can. Go and walk in nature. What I'm saying is . . . the whole of life goes into music. Music is about all that stuff that goes [on] out there. The more that you put into yourself, and not just music, not just the details . . . the more you will be able to give back to the music.

With the formation of Arts Undivided, I want to broaden my own horizons as well as encourage others to take this journey with me.

What is Arts Undivided?

At the basic level, I created Arts Undivided as a platform that brings all the arts together into one central location. The platform has three main pieces: 

  • Articles
  • A weekly newsletter 
  • Instructional resources 

The articles offer an opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics, art forms, and genres; the newsletter offers an action-oriented approach to broadening your engagement with the arts; the instructional resources give members the ability to explore their creativity and enhance their artistry through private lessons, group classes, and upcoming online courses.

The reason I believe in housing all the arts in one place is to break the barrier to entry into the arts.

There should be a simple way to expose yourself to new ideas and expand your interaction with different art forms.

I want to create an environment where exploration is fueled by curiosity. By developing our sense of curiosity for the world, we will be able to bring a sense of openness and acceptance into our lives. 


By the term "Arts," I mean anything that is crafted for human beings, by human beings.

This could be the traditional art forms such as music and painting or it could be other areas such as cooking and landscaping. It could even encompass Nature itself and the impact it can have on life.

Art, at its core, expresses life with all its joy, pain, doubt, etc. It pierces the exterior shell of our perceived life and drives directly to our inner world.

By going beneath the surface, art allows us to connect with an elemental part of ourselves and it is at that point that we are able to come to a greater understanding of the many ways in which all life is connected.

We can peel away our exterior identities and beliefs we have and embrace the essence of what makes us all human. 


"Undivided" represents the mission I have to create an open collaboration and connection between all art forms.

The articles and newsletters not only span a large array of topics but will often show how ideas cross the boundaries between art forms.

The Arts Undivided community will be built with the hope of creating a space for open collaboration between artists and individuals.

My mission is to encourage a focus on "artistry" instead of the limits of what is possible within a single art form or a single framework.

Great artists are not held back by barriers.

They focus on what they want to express and then reshape the art form to fit that expression.

This is exactly what Orson Welles did in the creation of his iconic film, Citizen Kane

"You don't know what cannot be done."

I believe that an interaction with a broad array of arts creates better artists, enhances our knowledge of what it is to be human, and ultimately leads to a more open approach to cultures, ideas, and beliefs that are different than our own.

In essence, I am looking for ways in which art can break down barriers.

Our Mission

Arts Undivided is a platform centered around the fundamental belief that everyone should let their life be led by curiosity and openness instead of fear and barriers.

We all have little barriers that surround us.

Oftentimes, we are not even consciously aware of them but they have a strong effect on how we view the world. Inside those barriers we feel secure and comfortable.

Outside the barriers lies the mysterious unknown and the uncertainty that inspires both fear and curiosity. [1]

This dichotomy often leads to a hesitation about stepping outside our imagined boundaries, creating a sense of fear or trepidation for anything beyond our circle of comfort.

Let us take Walt Whitman's advice from the beginning of Song of Myself, section 44 where he calls us to step outside our boundaries and into the unknown, stripping away what we think we know so that we can fully take in what is yet to be known:

It is time to explain myself—let us stand up.

What is known I strip away,
I launch all men and women forward with me into the Unknown.

The clock indicates the moment—but what does eternity indicate?

We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers,
There are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them.

Births have brought us richness and variety,
And other births will bring us richness and variety.

I do not call one greater and one smaller,
That which fills its period and place is equal to any.

Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you, my brother, my sister?
I am sorry for you, they are not murderous or jealous upon me,
All has been gentle with me, I keep no account with lamentation,
(What have I to do with lamentation?)
I am an acme of things accomplish'd, and I an encloser of things to be.

Building from the ground up

I am building this platform from the ground up.

As you follow Arts Undivided, you will gradually be introduced to a wide variety of topics and new ideas. I am looking to expand into as many areas as I can.

Over time, I will be able to add more voices to the platform and bring on teachers in all genres to allow for one place to go from inspiration to exploration and on to cultivation.

It would be impossible to create an entirely comprehensive platform but this can at least be a starting point for adventures into areas you may never knew existed.

An article might spark an interest in something new, the newsletter can be a way to regularly encourage yourself to step outside your boundaries, and the instructional resources will allow you to cultivate your own artistry.

By becoming a subscriber, you will get to grow along with us as we explore together.

From the novice to the professional artist, there will be something here for you.

The whole idea behind Arts Undivided is that we are exploring what it is to be a human being. Along the way we will be challenging the assumptions we have as well as making the circle of the known broader.

I set off upon this journey with Whitman's Song of Myself, section 46 as my guide:

I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and never will be measured.

I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road.

Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.

It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.

Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth,
Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.

If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand on my hip,
And in due time you shall repay the same service to me,
For after we start we never lie by again.

This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look'd at the crowded heaven,
And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we be fill'd and satisfied then?
And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond.

You are also asking me questions and I hear you,
I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.

Sit a while dear son,
Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink,
But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence.

Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.

Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.


1 For an in-depth look into the psychological foundations of the known and unknown, I recommend Jordan Peterson's book Maps of Meaning.

May 5, 2021

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