What if the music stopped?
After all the articles about defunding the arts, I have come to the realization that the arts are not valued enough, and they are not seen as a basic social cause for the majority of donors. So, I ask, what constitutes a basic need?
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, the concept of arts as a need is not even voiced. Many define basic needs as the physiological — food, water, clothing.
However, if you would ask people what they like to do with their time, I am willing to bet that part of the arts comes up in this conversation.
I like to listen to music, draw, dance, take photographs, watch television, go to see a movie, etc., etc.
I am also quite confident in knowing that whatever you are doing right now, where you are, there are the arts surrounding you. Right now I am in a coffee shop. The television is on (albeit muted), the radio is singing its songs, there is art on the wall by various local artists, and there are a few people in here that are wearing quite the colorful, fashionable top.
I assure you that if you go through your day from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed, you will encounter numerous arts happenings! And, don’t forget that the business world through marketing and design uses the arts. Fashion uses the creative arts. There are literally signs everywhere that use the arts!
You can also credit creativity in many fields to the arts. Albert Einstein was the first to admit that music was his particular muse when it came to getting his creative solutions flowing.
So back to our basic needs conversation. When do people turn to the arts in their lives? Almost constantly during the day. The smartphone in your hand is another arts user. Why do people turn to the arts? In many cases it is for entertainment, comfort, joy, emotional expression, individuality, therapy for both emotional and physical needs, social reasons, educational reasons, for design and marketing (business), to document history, and the list goes on.
I agree that people do have basic physical needs, but when it comes to being a complete human being, our emotional needs are basic too (yes, I am winking at you, Maslow). Without emotional outlets, explorations, benefits, comforts in life, we are not fully human. Think about what people did to comfort themselves during the Great Depression. They turned to the arts!
It has come to this — the arts, are they a basic need for our humanity? I would say yes, and I hope if you are following my mind dump on the topic, you are starting to feel this way too.
You went through your day noticing all the arts around you. Now imagine — what if the music stopped? What if there were no art on the walls, no colorful images, no creative solutions, no expression of emotion, no television, no theaters, no museums, no festivals, no books, no…?
I for one would crumple up and die without the arts — it is a basic need for me!
What can you do to make the music continue on? Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that the arts don’t deserve to be funded.
Support the arts — fund the arts — value the arts — every day! Rinse and repeat.
Chief Audience Builder, Audience Development Specialists
Note: In view of feedback, I do want to mention that there are people that value the arts. I am making a comment about the general idea of funding the arts. Some people fund the arts no matter what, but there are others that keep attempting to take it off the funding table. We seem to be fighting all the time for arts funding. If the arts were valued as a basic need, funding would be automatically included without question. I always cheer when I see increases in certain parts of the world.