A Public Conversation Among People Who Care
March 11, 2005Closing Out
It's been terrific week and I want to thank my fellow bloggers and commenters for the fabulous exchange of ideas. I am flattered to have been invited to participate with such an august group of arts intellectuals, which believe me, I am not. Thank you, Doug.
I represent the ground troops, battling every day to secure funding, keep arts at the policy table, help artists and arts orgs fulfill their missions and realize their goals (or sometimes just keep the doors open) and find new ways to advance the work we all love. I will continue to do this work at the local level, but I agree with Bill and Midori who suggest that the arts should identify and pursue a "big idea," like guitars for every fifth grader. In King County, we'd love to see every child learn to read music before they complete middle school.
I have been reminded in this blog that the arts are much bigger than the non-profit sector and that policy may have much bigger impact on the arts than funding.
And I agree with all of the commenters who said artists should be elected to school boards, and city and county councils. Artists should be an integral part of a community, not consigned to the fringe.
I entered this conversation because I felt I needed a new case for the arts. I mentioned in my first blog that I am battling in the state legislature on behalf of a bill that will secure arts funding in King County for the foreseeable future. We have a hearing next Tuesday. I had hoped to find some new argument that would seal the deal. Instead, I gained a new appreciation for the tried and true, and new insights into the multiple benefits that we all experience when the arts thrive in a community.
I will use economic impact arguments next week. When asked by legislators why they should fund the arts instead of health and human services, I will tell them that the arts are a health and human service. I will echo commenter William Osborne that a civil and healthy society doesn't choose between the arts and transporation; it finds a way to do both. Wish me luck.
Posted by jkelly at March 11, 2005 03:30 PM