Asking why the arts matter is not a new question, so attempting to answer the question as college students, writers, artists and musicians is not only crucial, but it is an obligation for any sort of artist and for The Utah Chronicle arts desk.
The arts can be defined as anything that inspires innovative and creative thinking. There is a time and place for science, logic and the hard facts of the real world. Then there is the subconscious realm where creativity lives. Creativity explores the realm of infinite possibilities where art is born. As artists, we can create a space of possibility in which we can formulate ideas through artistic expression on how to address, combat and work to solve issues, such as global warming, famine, poverty and systemic racism.
As the politics of the nation continue to divide us, art has the power to both reflect the world’s problems and allow us to escape from them. Good art has the power to connect people. Whether it’s a small crowd at Pioneer Theatre or the entire nation binging a new season of “Stranger Things,” works of art allow us to share an experience with a community. We love writing about things we’ve seen or listened to that excite us. It gives us the chance to advocate for beauty and to share that experience with others. Maybe sharing this passion and creativity is the only thing we have left to agree on.
It’s no secret that when things get hard we turn to different forms of art to cope — it may be music, writing or reading. Art is a form of healing, it soothes the scars that aren’t visible to the naked eye. It’s an outlet for whatever pain, injustice or mistrust a person may be going through.
Art is an outlet, whether it’s taking a ballet class, a piano lesson, splashing some acrylic paint on a canvas or writing and doodling in notebooks. We live in a fast-paced world that is getting faster every day. It’s a challenge to stick with something that takes time and determination to master, but the reward of having a valuable skill is priceless. Throughout history, the arts have been used to tell humanity’s story, which is why it’s important to continue to create, so we can be remembered.
Sometimes traditional education doesn’t favor the arts, and teachers are unaware of a student’s talents because the focus is on more so-called practical things, like math and science. To paraphrase “Dead Poets Society”: “Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, [art,] these are what we stay alive for.”
Art is everywhere. It’s in the music we listen to, in the way we dress, in the way we arrange words and even in the way we approach the world. Perhaps the last example is the most prominent reason why the arts matter. Art is no longer something an individual creates, but how that individual carries themselves.
People have always told stories and acted things out to explain the concepts we don’t understand. Covering everything from how and why the sun sets to how and why people fall in love. Paintings and cave drawings tell stories without words and prove art has always been valuable to humanity. Without art, people would live in a gray world where facts, though important, would take away togetherness and understanding. We’d be left without books, music and novels that transport us to other realms and teach us about the joy and pain of situations we’d never experience any other way. Without art there wouldn’t be beauty in our words or actions, there wouldn’t be be beauty in the world — at least not any that we’d be able to communicate.
Art is important because it expands our perspective. It helps us experience different cultures, languages, experiences and people. It is engaging, immersive and diverse.
Differing art forms provide an essential creative medium for survival. The roots of change and progress don’t always lie within scientific fact. Sometimes they’re hidden within graffiti or music. Oftentimes the things that inspire us are words of writers and poets that address the struggles of peoples, nations and the human spirit. The arts are positioned close to the human heart and speak the harshest and realest truths of our existence. Without these truths, there is no space to question, to contemplate and to act. Art is one of the defining elements of humanity. To question such a vital element questions our very being.
Since art is a form of expression, it is protected by the First Amendment. As a result, artists are able to express their thoughts without fear of being suppressed. Thus, art is often the best way to reflect. By presenting personal experiences, artists create opportunity for audiences to view topics from a new perspective. Much like a mirror, art reflects back the stark reality of the state of society and the audience. Often it is the emotional response that proves more powerful than logical reasoning.
Art teaches us about the human condition. Whether it is through movement, like dance, or expression, like words, painting or even acting, art is the compass that directs us. Art provides us our soul and our breath. Our favorite shows and movies, the social media people can’t seem to live without and even the words we use to say we care, it’s all a part of art. It’s a part of a train that has spanned thousands of years, and at the end of tunnel we have forgotten to look back in our haste to rush forward.