When discussing the value of arts and culture, we should start with its intrinsic value – how it illuminates our lives and enhances our world.
"Art for art's sake," the English rendering of a French slogan from the early 19th century, "l'art pour l'art," expresses a philosophy of the intrinsic value of art - one that needs no justification or that it need serve no political, academic, or moral function. We participate in the arts because we enjoy doing so, and it is an enriching experience. Besides being an enjoyable experience to many - art broadens horizons and promotes personal growth. In addition to intrinsic, art also has an educational, economic, and social value. Arts education is vital for our development as individuals - stimulating creative thought, analysis, and opinion-making skills. Among the economic outcomes of the arts is consumer spending on art activities within our local economy and significant employment within the arts sector. And lastly, the arts have a significant positive impact on social outcomes. From the increased knowledge of social issues and the empowerment of all identities; it serves as a vehicle for raising awareness of issues around social justice; as a mechanism for promoting mental health; it contributes to increased self-confidence and social skills; and finally, the arts create inclusion and a sense of community. During COVID -19, artists have brought solace and teased out smiles when it was almost unthinkable. At the same time, our arts organizations have re-imagined programs to share moments in time, and experiences with old friends and new acquaintances. The creative sector will soon be in line to work with our young people as they start to regain their footing and separate from the shock of our collective lockdown. The relationship between the arts and social change is not a straightforward one – philanthropists must play the long game and support art for its capacity to help us think deeply, critically, and beautifully. As we begin the cautious pivot to re-opening and recovery, let's work together and keep our artists and cultural organizations flourishing. Because now is the time for more art, not less.
Together, we can do this!