Art is life-giving.
It’s an intangible. How can you explain to someone who has never experienced the power of an original piece of work, something that has sprung from the thought of one human being, brought into existence due to that person’s trials and errors, sweat, mental anguish, trying to get it right, to make physical that which he or she sees in the mind’s eye? Art adds life – to the walls of your home, your cubicle at work, your city parks, the very roadways you travel – breath and thought and feeling and connection, a communication offered from the artist to you.
It was a difficult year, 2010. Many of us felt the negatives of an economy sliding downhill, jobs moving in not equal to the companies moving out, the broad sweep of cuts to the arts because funds are stretched to the nth degree just to cover the most basic of services. Hard decisions have had to be made. We all want to live in a community with plenty of recreational opportunities and cultural offerings. Most of us realize that in our current world we must get creative to provide those amenities when our cities are pushing to fill empty buildings, entice new enterprise, appeal to and keep our young adult residents.
This is why we need the life sustaining power of art more than ever, and it is also why it is time for those of us who live and breathe and work in the arts to do more – I know, I know, we all are always being asked to do more – but small things can truly add up to big accomplishments. There is strength in numbers, and while competition is healthy, there really is great power in collaboration.
Dayton, Ohio, where I live and work, is remarkable in its offerings in the arts; it has more than most cities its size (a provable statistic by the way). We have more talented professional artists than most, we have fine galleries that could use more traffic and support, and we have an art institute that rivals those of many larger metropolitan areas. Dayton has been blessed by the philanthropy of past citizens who loved this city and its people; we are still enjoying the fruits of that generosity today. Moreover, we are charged with living up to that legacy. We need to, now more than ever before.