I have loved the arts for as long as I can remember. I was initially drawn in by the movement and melody of dance, but as I matured, I realized that what I truly love is how art is able to communicate complex thoughts and emotions. I first realized this while crying in a dark theater watching the Phantom say goodbye to his beloved. I was amazed that music and lyrics made me empathize so deeply with a disfigured recluse who kidnapped a young opera singer. Recently, I was amazed by art’s brilliance while I sat breathless watching the Stephen Petronio company’s performance about death and resurrection.
As a dancer myself for years, I relished the challenge of conveying a story or concept without any words. I may not have had perfect feet, but I knew that I could connect with the audience when I was on stage. My arts education taught me how to analyze the message I needed to deliver, to consider who I was performing for, and to determine the best method to communicate to that audience. (Shout out to the Vancouver School of Arts & Academics and its “audience paper.”)
Now as an attorney, I use these same skills today. I am a commercial litigator (trial attorney) at Holland & Knight, which is a national law firm representing some of the largest companies in the world. My task every day is to evaluate legal risks for our clients, and to distill complex legal concepts into an understandable package. Although I now have the benefit of words instead of only movements, I still use the same tools: analyze the message; consider the audience; and tailor the message for the audience. One of an attorney’s greatest strengths is to be able to communicate clearly to the client, the court, a jury, and the public. We must consider the specific needs of each audience so that we can best achieve our client’s goals. The arts taught me this. So even though my stage looks different now, I am grateful for my arts education every day.
by Kristin Asai,
artist, attorney at Holland & Knight, and Right Brain Governing Committee member
National Arts in Education Week 2017 - Blog Salon #3