Value of Art

Americans for the ArtsARTSblog had an interesting article about Art/Artists working in and with Communities.

I tried to leave a comment but was unable, so here are my thoughts:

I have seen, through my own work, that the arts are deeply connected to our communities, through art for art’s sake that is also art for humanity’s sake. I prefer when art is both – why can’t art be quality, creative, and meaningful to more than just us, those who make it.

The challenge I have faced, working independently or as part of a small ensemble, is that artists don’t often have the knowledge to “prove” their value to granters or community leaders, nor do they have the finances to pay someone else to do it.

It is exciting to hear that HUD and Kresge are thinking more broadly about change and encouraging relationships between communities and artists. I hope that it reaches all levels of artists, not just those who are big and known, but also all of us who are small but creating great work.

As I work toward revitalizing the Reading Theater Project, I have these conversations with myself a lot: what is the value of art (of theater)? what kind of art do I want to make? do I want the art to serve the artist or the community? What I keep returning to is YES – I believe that art can do all of these things and we don’t have to choose. We can produce a place, write a play, develop a performance as an ensemble; it can be high quality art and highly creative AND be meaningful to the community we live in.

This is my goal. Maybe I am naive. Maybe it is possible with the right people.


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