My mom wrote a note to me the other day on our family blog to encourage me to create for myself and for the intrinsic value of creating, rather than for an audience. She said that the freedom is in the creating. And she is right, although that’s something I’m still learning how to do.
I believe in the personal value of Art. I believe that Art lifts the human spirit. I believe it is our medium for expression, but also for interacting with the world. Art isn’t a luxury; it’s a need. It belongs up there with food and shelter. Communities begin to dwindle and regress when Art is not valued; on the other hand, when Art is promoted and integrated into the culture, communities revive and grow.
During World War II, the film industry experienced a huge boom as thousands were drawn to theatres for the create release of entertainment. They wanted to engage in the virtues of life and distract themselves from the horror of the war. In contrast, in the early nineteenth century, Francisco de Goya used art to help him cope with atrocity. When the French committed horrendous crimes against the Spanish during the Inquisition, de Goya created more than eighty-five paintings in outcry.
On a practical level, the individual works of Robert Florida, Jane Jacobs, and many others have demonstrated the value of both public art and art in the community. Engaging in art as a community uplifts the community; being exposed to art within the community lifts the individual.
The German philospher Goethe once said, “Never let a day pass without looking at some perfect work of art, hearing some great piece of music and reading, in part, some great book.” The point is, we need art. Whether for the intrinsic value of creating or as a means of venting our emotions, we need it.