Art is sometimes much more than a frill

To be fair, the government subsidizes many enterprises, i.e. health care, farming, ranching, oil and gas, cities, to some degree or other and at various times or other. Art, thus, does not exist in isolation and in fairness deserves its share of the pie.

Re. Jan. 20 Bill Greenwood column, headlined Artwork is a frill, not a necessity:

To be fair, the government subsidizes many enterprises, i.e. health care, farming, ranching, oil and gas, cities, to some degree or other and at various times or other. Art, thus, does not exist in isolation and in fairness deserves its share of the pie.

To some art is a necessity as beauty and form gives life its meaning. To exist without nature and beauty would be not to exist at all for many people.

Art and beauty though are of a more subjective quality than perhaps the other things the government patronizes, hence the debate.

At one point most of the fine art and crafts and architecture were subsidized by the government and churches in Europe.

Some of the more modern schools of art beg the question “What is art?” more than other traditional modes and leave me cold in terms of appreciation.

Take the case of a student who attempted to defecate and call it art. He was promptly referred for counselling, and no it wasn’t Frank Zappa.

At any rate, I think the government has the mandate to support its community members at times and so to some degree or other should support the creative class as it does the others.

Training gained in the arts has and employs the application of “creativeness” that can be transferred to other more objective fields.

As well, the therapeutic and social aspect of the arts or some of them can and should not be overlooked – such as the value of music and art therapy.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but beauty is a necessity as life without beauty and meaning is not life at all, but mere existence.

Dr. Carl Jung did counter Freud’s argument of “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” with this insight: “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light (of meaning) in the darkness of mere being.”

Alfred Jonas

Red Deer