The ability to see beauty is the beginning of our moral sensibility.
I lived and worked in a city for three years whose major and almost only enterprise was insurance, banking and investment. That city had one of the best art museums in the country and almost no one went to it. I would go frequently because some of the world's greatest works were housed there. It was the only place on earth where one could see them. And every time I went I had some of the rooms all to myself.
There was little support or appreciation of art in that city and it showed. The powerful men in the city were completely focused on money and not much else.
We hear a lot about morals in America these days, the moral high ground, restoring the American ethic and so on. But the actions don't match the talk. There was one CEO of a large corporation who proclaimed that he never gave a dollar to any cultural cause, never would and he was proud of it. With that kind of ignorance the moral landscape of American is bare and desolate.
There are universities in this country that will close down their art departments and pour money into their football teams.
I know of a high school that wouldn't allow plays to be produced because it was too much of a drain on the electric bill, and yet the lights blazed even brighter for every basketball game.
Now we have a presidential candidate who brazen claims that if he is President he will close down the National Endowment for the Arts. To do that would be a fiercely negative and destructive thing for this country. But to stand up in public and make that promise is so monumentally stupid that man should quickly withdraw himself from the campaign and any further attempt to be considered a good American.
The arts in this country, as in any country, provide the dialogue between character and future. Art defines the spirit of our nation. It points to what is unknown and needed. It repairs. It supports. It gives voice to the struggles and achievements of our people. It tells the truth. It shows us beauty. It leads to the fountains of sensibility. It increases our moral awareness. It provides the ideas and impressions which raise the level of mentality. It makes better people.
If the arts disappear, or fall into the hands of corporate sponsorship with its confining rules and low standards, the United States is lost.
Dana Bate - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up