This past week I had the pleasure of having a young poet stay with me while she attended USM’s Stonecoast Creative Writer’s Program at Wolfe’s Neck in Freeport. After hours of intense work, she spoke to me of the many beautiful, creative writing pieces that were read by recent graduates of this MFA program. It made me think about the place art has on our society’s list of valuable assets. If we were to judge it by the proverbial, “put your money where your mouth is”, it isn’t very high on that list. In fact, society’s expectation is that art is not something you should expect to make money with and so we treat it like the poor stepchild.
Historically, this seems to have been the norm because we hear artists, writers, musicians and actors described as starving. Before creative souls even get started, our colloquialisms give them the expectation of being poor. And, if they are lucky enough to be successful, they feel they have “sold-out” because they weren’t supposed to make money doing the creative work they love. Or, if they do meet the low expectations we gave them, they feel “lesser than” because they chose to pursue a career in the creative arts.
Yet, most of us agree that the fine arts add endless depth and substance to our lives. The creative works touch us and invoke feelings in places that we don’t easily or readily access. I remember reading the book The Giver, one of my son’s 5th grade novels, about a world with no color, no sound, no love – just sameness. Quite frankly, it should have been labeled PG-13 for horror!
And, that is what our world would be without the arts. So next time, you think of the starving creative souls and programs in our world, shift your beliefs just a bit to give them the value they deserve. Maybe if we all shift a bit, someday we’ll hear everyone bragging, “my son, the artist!”
Add beauty to your life – support the arts!