Thursday, December 02, 2010

Why the Arts Matter

"We believe that the arts are important because they change lives.
Art is one of the key ways we have as a culture of seeing ourselves, and of seeing our relations to the world.  Encounters with art - as school students, in further education, as adults - whether they take place in museums and galleries, theatres, concert halls, village halls, street corners, websites or in any of the many many other places that art has made its own -have the possibility to awaken us to new experiences, pleasures and questions.
Art is often talked of in terms of affirmation and celebration and just for the record, we have nothing at all against these things. But we're also proud of the role art has to challenge, to provoke and to question. Those experiences are the ones that stay with us - and for us make the most powerful argument for supporting the arts. A healthy society is one that has doubts and disputes, uncertainties and divisions - how we cope with those things, how we give space to discussing and dealing with them is the mark of our success.
Art has a double centre - it asks that we look closely at the world we are living in - that we see it, for what it is, with all of its joys, complexities and all of its problems. At the same time art asks us to dream of another space - to imagine things as otherwise, to step outside the limits of our day to day.
Art and tolerance go together.
Cuts to the arts are cuts to the imagination."
Tim Etchells. September 2010.