Why The Arts Matter in Our Lives?

Ever wonder what National Endowment for the Arts staff actually thinks about the arts? While not everyone at the agency is an artist (though we do boast quite a few!), one thing’s for sure–we all share a deep and abiding appreciation and understanding of how vitally important the arts are to the diverse people and communities that call the U.S. home. To paraphrase what more than one staffer said when we asked them to explain why they value the arts so highly, the arts matter because they help us to understand how we matter. Here’s more…

The arts matter because I learn something about people and places I would have never known otherwise. The arts make my brain and my heart stretches to make room for newness. Sometimes, parts of me are displaced and replaced by wiser stuff. And that’s a fine thing.” – Victoria Hutter

“Art matters because it illustrates the human experience—the wonder of it, the bewilderment of it, the whimsy of it, and so much more. We would not be connected so deeply without the existence of art.” – Kathleen Dinsmore

“The arts matter because they give us a mutual space where we can talk to one another about the most important things to us. It can turn strangers into old friends with lots in common.” – Maryrose Flanigan

“The arts matter because art is meant to move people either on an intellectual or emotional level. Whether this is a book that stays with you days later, or a performance that moves you spiritually or a song that makes you look at the world around you in a different way. The purpose of art is to cause a reaction and with this purpose, it can create a synergy of change; change in attitudes, perceptions, and thoughts.” – Catherine Brookes

“The arts matter because without them our strong emotions, our vital voices, our move-to-the-groove energy and necessary empathy and life-affirming connectedness and tendency toward complexity might all wither from disuse, maybe even destroy us through misuse. The arts matter because, with them, we matter.” – Amy Stolls

“There is a quote by Vladimir Nabokov that reads, ‘There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones that are intrinsically artistic.’ I’ve kept this quotation on my desk for days now after seeing it used as an epigram to a James Lasdun poem and I have to confess, I can’t paraphrase what it means (which I would say is a sign of great art). But the sentence is beautiful and the cloud of unknowing it puts me it reminds me of why I do love art. Often with art, I feel I’m talking with someone who knows something I don’t, something I’d like to know. Art stretches me, challenges me, makes me think and feel. I’m a curious person and want to know. Art is the place where huge concepts like love and war are distilled for us to reckon or small things like a flower is held up to all. And akin but different from Nabokov’s thought, things become right sized with great art. Money, power, status are so easily and quickly overvalued and things like relationships, beliefs, or even happiness, the stuff of art that makes life worth living is devalued in our world that is constantly pushing us apart toward isolation. Art gives us a reality check as to what’s really going on and what could go on if we cooperated. As a society, the place where imagination and knowledge meet is where we want to start.” – Sidney Smith

“The arts matter because we matter, and our stories matter. We are moving miracles, walking creators engaging in a cosmic dance. The art we express is timeless.” –Mohammed Sheriff

“The arts matter because they help us see the world from different perspectives. They give us empathy and help us understand people, places, periods of history, and issues with which we may otherwise be unfamiliar. They comfort us in grief and energize us in celebration. They are important because they can act as a catalyst for change…they can start a revolution! The arts ignite something in our brains that I can’t explain, but I know it’s essential for life.” – Jennie Terman

“The arts matter because they allow an individual a platform to express their unique creativity to/with the world.” – Monica Waters

“The arts matter because they allow us to express ourselves and illustrate the world around us in a different light, helping us to gain understanding, build communities, and give hope.” – Kelli Rogowski

“The arts matter because they are like a gift from one soul to another – whether it’s a joyful, simple gift like a child’s drawing or a play or novel that makes you think and hurt and wish and feel, the arts help us understand ourselves and each other.” – Carrie Holbo

“The arts matter because they offer a unique space for self-affirmation and reflection.” – Carlos Arrien

“The arts matter because creativity is an infinite and enduring resource, one to draw upon in both the most joyous and the most challenging of moments. The arts strengthen community bonds, create new means of connection and understanding, and offer a continuous, powerful, and resilient source of individual and collective identity.” – Sarah Burford

“The arts matter because they are the record of our civilization and the arrow pointing forward to our future.” – Greg Reiner

“Art matters because people matter and arts events are one of the best ways to gather individuals and build communities around a shared experience.” – Eleanor Billington

“The arts matter to me because they allowed me to elevate myself out of the sad place I was in during my childhood. I was able to read fluently at four and had my first letter-to-the-editor published at age eight. Seeing my name in print was all it took to get me onto the path of becoming a journalist. I had no encouragement from my mother but she did buy me a mechanical typewriter. At 17, and still, in high school, I was one of the youngest reporters at BILD newspaper. It was the money I made with that side gig that got me out of the public housing complex we lived in shortly after my 18th birthday and into my first own apartment.” -Katja von Schuttenbach

 

Blog Source: Art Works | Why The Arts Matter

 

 

 

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