Valley Women’s Voices: Defend the Arts | Letters

By Denise Rose, Hamilton

The pandemic has taught us many things…some good, some bad, and some subject to constant debate. But what I’ve seen, across the board, is that the pandemic has shone a light on how important the arts are to each of us.

Maybe you binge Netflix or Hulu or another streaming service. Maybe you spent more time enjoying original content on TikTok, YouTube or Instagram. Maybe you even picked up a new or old hobby like painting, drawing, reading, carpentry, knitting, ceramics, etc. The fact is, when things got tough and we were all uncertain and worried, or grieving or angry, we turned to the arts for solace and inspiration.

The arts touch each of us on a daily basis. Do you like to listen to music? Thank you arts. Do you like to wear cool clothes? Thank you arts. Like anything handmade? What about food? Do you enjoy radio, television, films, plays, musicals, symphonies, concerts, stand-up, dance? You can thank the arts for each of these things and more! And I haven’t even started the traditional physical fine arts! Something hanging on your walls or placed decoratively on your coffee table or shelf? A pottery? Glassware? Paintings? Drawings?

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The creativity spawned by art education has given you muscle cars and vans, all the cool buildings in history (pyramids, anyone? The Sydney Opera House? The Empire State Building?), all video games from Pong and Frogger to Minecraft and Call of Duty, plus your iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Even your favorite sports teams can thank the arts for designing team uniforms, stadiums, and logos. Letterhead, trademarks, paint, shoes, appliances, carpets, linoleum, landscaping, jewelry, cars, eyewear, furniture, and greeting cards have all their foundations in the arts.

Without this creative base, we would all dress the same color and style, drive the same wheelie, and live in identical houses with the same furnishings as everyone else. It feels like the start of a dystopian nightmare. If we eliminate the arts, we eliminate the creative growth and advancement that characterizes our humanity.

So the next time you’re wondering how to make your community a better place or what you can do to make a difference, consider reaching out and supporting the arts. Visit a gallery, buy a book, attend an exhibition. Go out to dinner and compliment the chef with a tip. Buy local art. Donate to a school arts/choir/orchestra program or local community theatre. Compliment/thank/tip a musician. Be a voice to support school and community arts programs and teachers. Community art advocate.

Be there for the arts because they need you. After all, they are there for you every day.

—Denise Rose, Hamilton

Valley Women’s Voices is a Sunday feature film in the Ravalli Republic. Send your submissions to [email protected]

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