The newsLINK Group - Why the Arts Matter

Editorial Library Category: Cities & Towns Topics: Importance of Art Title: Why the Arts Matter Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: In theory, everybody loves the arts. In practice, it’s a little different. The arts just don’t seem so practical, sometimes, when a community has to decide where to allocate precious tax dollars. How many people like literature, opera, ballet, and the symphony — really? Editorial: Why the Arts Matter 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 In theory, everybody loves the arts. In practice, it’s a little different. The arts just don’t seem so practical, sometimes, when a community has to decide where to allocate precious tax dollars. How many people like literature, opera, ballet, and the symphony — really? Part of the problem is that sometimes we define art too narrowly. “Art” isn’t just a day at the museum, a night at the opera, a child’s dance recital. It is highbrow and lowbrow and everything in between. It’s the design of everyday objects, the layout of magazine ads and movie posters, the tiny variations in typefaces on a printed page, the illustrations in a children’s book, the shape of the spaces we live and work in. It’s in the composition of every photo we post on Instagram. It’s busting a dance move in the kitchen or living room when a song is playing full-blast. Be honest: have you ever gone a whole day without hearing music? It’s hard to do. Art is all around us, all the time. Magdalena Abakanowicz, a sculptor, has said, “Art does not solve problems, but makes us aware of their existence.” One could argue the point about art not solving problems — after all, music was originally defined as being a branch of mathematics, and there is still has a deep connection between the two — but the first step in solving any problem surely has to be identifying that it even exists. Is there a problem when the arts get cut? It’s a little tricky to determine the consequences that result from neglecting the arts. How do you quantify what the benefits are? Is there really a connection between being beautiful, inspiring, or thought-provoking and being useful? And if the arts are just dispensable candy for the senses, aren’t communities better off focusing on other things that will contribute more effectively to the entire community? The U.S. economy needs a flow of cash, for example, and it also needs technology. Surely these are better areas to emphasize? It turns out that the answer is no. The arts, especially when combined creatively with technology, have actually proven to be excellent revenue generators. And that makes at least one starting point for discussions about the benefits of art within a community. What happens without art? What does a society without arts education look like? It lacks inspiration and innovation. It stops thriving. Take Steve Jobs and the company he so famously co-founded with Steve Wozniak. Apple Inc. has been a success in large part because Steve Jobs cared, passionately and often rudely, about the aesthetics of design. He knew how to get top-notch technical people together and have them create great designs, but he was also deeply artistic. It was this combination that was the source of his genius. You could say that although some artistic people have earned immense wealth for themselves and for the industries associated with them, they are atypical. Ignore for a moment the fact that people who are wildly successful do benefit others. You have to wonder; how do the arts affect the ordinary people in a community? Research has shown that the arts are intimately connected with a successful education; it fosters achievement in school, it helps people develop emotionally and intellectually, it increases participation and involvement within a community, and it creates opportunities for everyone. Someone who is involved in the arts is more likely to benefit the community and to form stronger ties — the right kind of ties — than someone who is not. You have a greater chance of revitalization and synergy stemming from the creative environment. Research has shown that the arts are intimately connected with a successful education; art fosters achievement in school, it helps people develop emotionally and intellectually, it increases participation and involvement within a community, and it can even be therapeutic. Someone who is

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