It seems like a redundant question to many, but funding for the arts is constantly under fire. As we have to choose how public and private funds are spent, the arts seem to be the first thing cut, and the last repaired. This is really counterproductive. The arts enhance our lives as no other influence can. Children exposed to the arts excel in other studies. Societies without the arts quickly fall into decline and loose a record of their own histories.
Creativity is one of the things that drives innovation, not only in the humanities, but in engineering and science as well. Encouraging this creative drive encourages the development of the economy and society as a whole. The arts bring into our lives a window into our own past and present, and sometimes a forecast for the future.
Public funding of the arts has gone down drastically in recent years as other problems have taken precedence, but is this the best place to begin cutting? Art is public schools, art in our communities and entertainment is a valuable resource to the community as a whole.
Personally, if it had not been for a great art resource during my high school years, I am sure I would have fallen through the education 'crack'. Art gave me the knowledge I needed to provide a future for myself, and a career I love. This all came through an 'artist in residence' program at my high school, funded by the state. What a life changing experience. A silversmithing class at a local state owned junior college just added to this. All from public monies and programs.
I can see the value if private art enterprises. I own an art gallery and an art school. But, this must be done in partnership with public art funding of state and community programs such as the Oklahoma State Arts Councils and numerous others.
So are the arts really important? They are more than important, they are a part of what we are and who we hope to become. Let your civic and government representatives know, 'Yes, the arts really are important".
Musings by Bruce Carter, Owner/Curator of Tallgrass Art Gallery