The Arts: More important than economics

I’ve seen a lot of commentary lately stating how important the arts are to the economy, how important artists are to employers in our current economy. While this might be true, I fear more important and enduring reasons for supporting the arts are being forgotten in the rush to justify them to our modern culture. Recording culture, asking difficult questions, exploring feelings that words cannot express or simply creating for the sake of beauty are all more valuable to individuals and society-at-large than propping up the GDP.

While I understand why organizations are leaning this way in their communications, the best of the arts just isn’t precisely quantifiable — despite our American desire to evaluate everything with numbers and hard data.

Art as a competing commodity

Yeah, yeah, my first post in more than 16 months. Priorities change when your time is munched (i.e. you have a toddler). If you’re interested in what I’ve been trying to focus on the past year plus, see ScissortailArtCenter.org. Keyword “trying.”

Regarding my own mostly futile attempts at sculpting, the following quote sums up where I’ve found myself at this point in life as an artist (assuming I actually get regular time to make art in the coming months per the current goal):

“Culture and music are just competing commodities. The things that we really value are the things we discover not the things that are sold to us. We’re content to be discovered.”

- The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus

Via Opus.

Does an artistic education ever end?

I started my college education majoring in architecture. This made perfect sense, really. I’d been spending hours upon hours, of my own accord, after school and during the summers drafting floor plans for houses since the sixth or seventh grade. While my friends went to parties or played ball (granted, I loved to play football or tennis or ride bikes with them too), I was often in my room, at my desk, putting to paper some sort of ingenious home design.

After two years pursuing architecture formally, I ended up changing majors for tangential reasons — reasons not related to my love for architecture, which had only grown. I switched to fine art, largely because it seemed like a logical step at that point in time (as much as college students are able to deduce such a thing).

I started studying graphic design, since it was the practical course within the fine arts degree and since my father, like many others before him, asked regularly how I was going to make a living in life. However, the graphic design professors at my university were positively awful teachers. One fell asleep in the middle of class on multiple occasions while beaming Wolfenstein onto the screen in front of the class, another had a fetish for magenta (among other things, reportedly) and a third took an independent study approach to teaching and our class only met about four times during the course of a semester. Needless to say I didn’t feel as though I was going to learn all that much more from them in the upper level classes.
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Learning to play tug with the dog

Apparently I can’t upload this directly to Facebook, so I guess I’ll post it here! An animated gif of my son learning to play tug with the dog, and the dog learning to play tug with the baby.

Tug-with-Maisie-animated

Consumerism ≠ cultured

Wonderful observation made by W.H. Auden in 1967, quoted at Opus:

Again, while it is a great blessing that a man no longer has to be rich in order to enjoy the masterpieces of the past, for paperbacks, first-rate color reproductions, and stereo-phonograph records have made them available to all but the very poor, this ease of access, if misused — and we do misuse it — can become a curse. We are all of us tempted to read more books, look at more pictures, listen to more music than we can possibly absorb, and the result of such gluttony is not a cultured mind but a consuming one; what it reads, looks at, listens to is immediately forgotten, leaving no more traces behind than yesterday’s newspaper.

Intentional Observation: Accidental moon sighting while photographing snow drift

Snow drift with moon

Tax incentives and the arts

While I’m not convinced tax credits (or deductions or inclusions or . . . ) are a good thing to begin with, this is very interesting:

” [In Canada] parents get a tax credit for money spent exposing their children to arts, recreation, or culture . . .”

[Preceded by] “A couple of years ago, I compiled a list of my favorite books for a friend. I went through all the books I’d read for the past five years, and pulled out the ones I most loved.

I was shocked to realize about one-third of them were from Canadian authors. One-third. Not of the books I read, mind you, but of the books I loved.”

Via Stone Soup

Intentional Observation: Pointy stripes

Pallet bark

Perspective on place

Character talking about a building she plans to purchase:

This place had a long history before us, has a long future after us. I keep thinking it’s apart of our lives, but, really, it’s the reverse. For a little while. . .I don’t know. . .it’s like we’re apart of its life.

Gilmore Girls episode 69

Epiphany

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

-Journey of the Magi, T.S. Eliot

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