I recently had the honor of being on a panel of Arts Educators for an event sponsored by Free Arts NYC, an arts program that I have been involved with for several years. The theme of the evening was “What is Art Good For?” In preparation I asked a number of friends if they felt that art is necessary for a society to function, and what would a world without art be like... Below is a sampling of the responses I got. Creative people rock!
P.S. I would love to hear more responses! Feel free to comment - How does art change the way you see the world?
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. ~Thomas Merton
If I go too long without making something, whether artistic, as in letterpress, or just graphic like photos or even a PowerPoint, or physical, like refinishing a chair or dresser, I get a little weird and need to have an expressive outlet.
….We're hard-wired for creative expression and art makes us feel good.
A life without art is like a world with no color.Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Pablo Picasso
Art helps us express the entire spectrum of the human experience. It also allows us to transcend, and thereby transform, the very same.
Art can also validate a person in some ways, whether she/he creates it as a form of expression of themselves, or whether they purchase and display it, to demonstrate their appreciation for it, or even to let it arouse inspiration or be therapeutic.
...It opens doors. If we take away art it does more than close doors in their faces...it removes the possibility of a doorway at all.
Dreams are art, what are dreams good for?
Art began in the caves with hand prints and charcoal drawings...as a species we've been making art for hundreds of thousands of years...so it must be good for something! Any Neanderthal knows that.
Before there was civilization as we define it, cave dwellers decorated their walls. We call these drawings art. Who knows what the artists called it? Maybe merely a diary of their days.
Consider the greater pleasure and aesthetic appeal of a tidy row of corn versus a "scattered seed" planting method. Art encompasses order. There is beauty in that, yes?
Ellen Dissanayake … talks about the concept of "making special", and this is something that (mostly) only human have always done, and it is the source of art in society.
Without art the Earth is just Eh.
Ellen Dissanayake has a book called "What is art for"… After scads of research and thoughtful examination of data she ends the book with a line that shoots through your body like lightning... to paraphrase from rusty neurons: ...in societies where the value of art is not primary, there is violence.
Refer to Article 1, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, where it states that one of Congress's responsibilities is to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". If our founding fathers felt it was necessary, it should be good enough for all Americans.
...."does life copy art or does art copy life".....of course the suave, but still dodgy answer is BOTH, but if life does copy art, then we need art for that model-- though art isn't just a projection, but a reflection, and a fantasy, and a realization, and a communication.
In a world that has standard measurements for all accomplishments there should always be a place for a student to think outside the box.
Art is typically a "safe space" for society to address it's ills… satire and spectacle.
I think art is necessary for society to function because ART IS ACTIVISM and as such, art helps to advance our culture and societal interests by introducing us to new ideas and ways of understanding.
Art, essentially is the lubrication that allows personal wants and interpersonal differences/needs/norms to slide/ride/rub together without harm.
Art is necessary as food for the soul as air is for the body, for the expression of our perception of the world is versed aesthetically through it!
If all else fails let’s not forget that it is just plain fun.