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I would like to respond to the caller who said that art should be a hobby. Does she think that professional dancers could do what they do if they had to have another job? How about orchestral musicians? Could they just rehearse Tuesday and Thursday evenings and still be a top-notch orchestra? Could opera singers work 9-5 and still sing at the level required? Of course not. If art is just a hobby, then the level of the art will be amateurish. I am a professional singer, but I'm sure the same goes for visual artists. Honing your craft to the highest level requires a full-time commitment.
I would also add that great civilizations have valued art and supported it with public funds--or the closest thing to it, depending on the particular characteristics of a given society--for thousands of years. In most cases, it is the most enduring product of a civilization, and the one that tells us the most about it. Great civilizations have all produced great art. Are we going to be the first to turn our backs on it?
Think of any music that you love. It doesn't have to be classical, it can be rock, pop, jazz, whatever. How much time to you spend hearing it? Probably a lot. Most of us have a "soundtrack of our lives." We are surrounded by music: in stores, on TV, in movies, on the iPod, everywhere. Who do you think produces it? Some of it is commercially viable--it makes enough money to pay for itself--and some isn't. But keep in mind that even highly-paid pop stars whose music sells in the millions were once young and poor, just learning about music. How did they learn? Music in the schools? Takes money. Concerts in the park? Take money. Those dancers on MTV probably had lots of ballet training, among other things, at schools with public subsidies. Public money spent on art impacts everyone's life, we just don't always know it.
The choice between art and health care, education, etc is a false one. We could afford all of it if we would just stop trying to police the world. A week of Iraqi occupation could fund arts at a high level for a year.
posted 3 years, 11 months ago
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