Rallying for the ARTS I was emailed by several people in Prescott about a petition signing rally requesting that the Yavapai College Governing Board reconsider proposed cuts to the Arts Department. Beside attending the rally I wrote the following. It is only part of the reasons that the Arts should be better supported.
Why rally for the arts.
Of themselves, the arts don’t cure people, bring world peace, feed the hungry or clothe the naked. Of themselves, the arts seem only to be on the outside looking in, observing, recording, reporting. Of themselves, the arts art perceived as not real, not substantive, not serious. You will seldom hear a politician promote the arts as a way to answer the pressing needs of his constituents, as a way to stimulate the economy, secure our nation’s borders, build factories and create jobs for millions. Nor secure votes.
The arts are of no use to the pragmatic, the nation builders, the tycoons of commerce. They are at best a diversion, fluff to be enjoyed, sparingly, after the real work is done. If there are any funds remaining after taking care of our most basic needs, our pride, our debts, our important matters, then perhaps some can go to the arts, begrudgingly and only if its purpose is verified to be correct and within the norm.
But fortunately there is a side to our humanness that demands that our spirit be nurtured as fully as our bellies. Defiantly we seek out those things which cannot be justified with measures of money, government statistics or polling results. Things that only the arts provide for, that only the arts defend, that only the arts can speak on behalf of.
The arts raise our consciousness as a nation and as individuals. The arts are personal and at the same moment universal. They comfort us, befuddle us. They throw up a mirror in front of us so that we can be in awe, in celebration and yes, sometimes in shame.
We rally in pride at the national anthem, we cry, unabashed, during great films and let our imaginations soar through the pages of poetry and prose. We reflect on our surroundings through the eyes of the creative who paint and sculpt and photograph our human experience and we learn universal truths that bind us together as a species, as a nation, as a community. The pragmatic things in our lives don’t fulfill this special place the way the arts do.
So yes, I rally for the arts, for their support and for those that try daily to raise our spirit.