I am posting this in response to the Common Council’s recent decision to eliminate the Arts Coordinator position from the budget. Rather than my usual snarky comments, I have decided to present what I am calling a curated Google search of quotes about the importance of the arts.
"Politicians don't bring people together. Artists do."
–Richard Daley, Former Mayor of Chicago
“The arts are the best insurance policy a city can take on itself.”
–Woody Dumas, former Mayor of Baton Rouge
"Art is fundamental, unique to each of us…Even in difficult economic times - especially in difficult economic times - the arts are essential."
"The arts are not a frill. The arts are a response to our individuality and our nature, and help to shape our identity. What is there that can transcend deep difference and stubborn divisions? The arts. They have a wonderful universality. Art has the potential to unify. It can speak in many languages without a translator. The arts do not discriminate. The arts can lift us up."
–Former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, first African-American elected to Texas Senate.
"The strength of every democracy is measured by its commitment to the arts.”
–Charles Segars, CEO of Ovation
". . . in any civilization - ours included - the arts are inseparable from the very meaning of the term 'education.' We know from long experience that no one can claim to be truly educated who lacks basic knowledge and skills in the arts."
–National Standards for Arts Education
The arts empower. The arts give a voice to the voiceless. The arts help transform American communities and, as I often say, the result can be a better child, a better town, a better nation and certainly a better world. Let’s champion our arts action heroes, emulate them and make our communities everything we want them to be.”
~ Robert L. Lynch, Presiden, Americans for the Arts
“In my own philanthropy and business endeavors, I have seen the critical role that the arts play in stimulating creativity and in developing vital communities….the arts have a crucial impact on our economy and are an important catalyst for learning, discovery, and achievement in our country.”
–Paul G. Allen, Co-Founder, Microsoft
“The country is so wounded, bleeding, and hurt right now. The country needs to be healed—it’s not going to be healed from the top, politically. How are we going to heal? Art is the healing force.”
~ Robert Redford, National Arts Policy Roundtable 2012
“Arts and culture make considerable and necessary contributions to the well-being of communities. Arts and culture are powerful tools with which to engage communities in various levels of change. They are a means to public dialogue, contribute to the development of a community’s creative learning, create healthy communities capable of action, provide a powerful tool for community mobilization and activism, and help build community capacity and leadership.”
~ Creative City Network of Canada
–John Q. Adams
“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”
–Lyndon Johnson, on signing into existence the National Endowment on the Arts
“When artists give form to revelation, their art can advance, deepen and potentially transform the consciousness of their community.”
~ Alex Grey
“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him… We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.”
~ John F. Kennedy
“GE hires a lot of engineers. We want young people who can do more than add up a string of numbers and write a coherent sentence. They must be able to solve problems, communicate ideas and be sensitive to the world around them. Participation in the arts is one of the best ways to develop these abilities.”
– Clifford V. Smith, President of the General Electric Foundation
“The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic…music, dance, painting, and theater are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.”
–William Bennett, Former US Secretary of Education
"In the push for quality math, science, technical, humanities, and other programs, please be sure that the arts are not ignored or pushed to one side. Provide your political support for the total curriculum. The arts enrich all of us."
–Dr. Richard Miller, Executive Director American Association of School Administrators
“The Arts and Sciences, essential to the prosperity of the State and to the ornament of human life, have a primary claim to the encouragement of every lover of his country and mankind.”
"The creative arts are the measure and reflection of our civilization. They offer many children an opportunity to see life with a larger perspective...The moral values we treasure are reflected in the beauty and truth that is emotionally transmitted through the arts. The arts say something about us to future generations."
–Ann P. Kahn, Former President of The National PTA
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
"Pyramids, cathedrals, and rockets exist not because of geometry, theories of structures, or thermodynamics, but because they were first a picture-- literally a vision--in the minds of those who built them. Society is where it is today because people had the perception; the images and the imagination; the creativity that the Arts provide, to make the world the place we live in today."
–Eugene Ferguson, Historian
"How can we turn our back on an endeavor which increases our children's cultural intelligence, heightens individual sensitivity and deepens our collective sense of humanity? I suggest to you that we cannot."
–Alec Baldwin at Arts Advocacy Day 1997
“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
~ Pablo Picasso