Hillary Clinton Sings Our Song

Two weeks ago Secretary of State Clinton spoke at Georgetown University about issues of Human Rights. The final question from the audience concerned the role the arts can play in advancing Human Rights. The Secretary's fantastic answer - and the one any artist or arts advocate might have tried to write for her - can be seen at minute 56:50 on this C-SPAN video.

She starts with this:
I think the arts and artists are one of our most effective tools in reaching beyond and through repressive regimes in giving hope to people.
Thanks to Gary for sending this to me!
December 30, 2009 12:11 PM | | Comments (6)

6 Comments

She has said the right thing. Arts has a big role to play in the society. Its importance cannot be ignored.

Surely Picasso should be included on the list of politically influential artists (Diego Rivera, Daumier, Goya) as well as the Russian Constructivists, among many many others.

Dudley, I think the visual arts are highly influential in human rights. I think part of the problem is that most statement/thought provoking art pieces are in museums or galleries and a lot of people don't get to those venues often. Art walks are great because they're free for people who might just want to browse the selection. Many people I know who aren't interested in art will go to an art walk because it's outdoors and free. Sometimes, in the process, they can broaden their own horizons.

Visual Arts not influential?
Diego Rivera
Daumier
Goya

I don't see how visual art is any less influential or communal than any other art. A novel is written by one person but read by many; a symphony by one composer is played by an orchestra for a concert hall full of people; likewise, a sculpture is crafted by an individual but viewed in museums and galleries by the general public. It is talked about, admired, and reflected upon. What's not shared about that experience?

Furthermore, sometimes what people need is one-on-one interaction, eh? I tend to think that art affects people when it becomes personal, when they connect it to themselves and the things they know.

And anyway, art is a collective creation no matter what the medium. There are so many stakeholders, from funders to audiences to families of artists, that it's hard to say any type of art is really a solitary act. Unless you're Milton Babbitt, I guess.

Hilary is fantastic and articulate - but she does not mention the visual arts, only literature, music and theater. As a visual artist myself, I often wonder whether the visual arts are too hermetic, too dependent on one-on-one interaction to be truly influential in the field of human rights. Any devil's advocates out there?

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This page contains a single entry by Dog Days published on December 30, 2009 12:11 PM.

Music by, for, and of a Community was the previous entry in this blog.

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