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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: tenth anniversary issue

[Unfulfilled opportunities in the arts: a symposium],   pp. [7]-24 PDF (17.0 MB)

Page 10

10      something highly special -  which they are,
but denying that they are also basic
to our very existence. Because of this
denial we find unfulfilled opportunities for
the arts in every geographical section of
the country, on every economic level, and
in every area of involvement in the arts -
from that of the creator and maker to that
of the audience member.
Obviously there is a need for greater
access to performances and exhibits of the
arts of the highest quality - but even
more needed are opportunities for creation,
participation, and learning. We need to
establish community and neighborhood arts
centers where those, of any age, who
have common interests can come together
to paint, sculpt, sing and play music,
dance, and take part in theatrical readings
or productions. Such centers should
have trained, professional staff members,
just as libraries have trained librarians.
They would allow people to be creative
participants in the arts in their adult years
as well as during their youth. (We provide
stimulating experiences in the arts in our
schools - but after high school or
college we seem to offer people only passive
participation as audience members.)
Active arts centers need not be housed in
million dollar structures. We need to
develop a type of building which is
inexpensive to build, yet inviting to work in.
We have recreational parks to take care
of our need to release our physical energies
and to keep our bodies in shape; why
shouldn't we have similar opportunities for
us to release our emotional energies and
keep our souls in shape?
We also need to develop centers where
creative persons can come together to work
as individuals as well as collaborators. Such
creative centers and institutions have
already been established for the scientists,
the military establishment, and, to some
extent, the humanists. Perhaps there is a
way to set up a series of regional Macdowell
Colonies, where the artist has a chance to
work on his own but also, in return,
accepts certain civic and social
responsibilities. As part of such colonies
there should be technical facilities
that would allow a creative person to
experiment with new technologies and in
various media combinations.
Good education in the arts - an education
that leads to an understanding and
appreciation of the creative process-
should be available to everyone, regardless
of where he lives or what his family's
income is. There is something wrong with
our present teaching of the arts when, in
spite of the millions of dollars we spend
each year for arts instruction in our
schools, we end up with so many
uninformed adults who look on the arts
as "frills." With a more arts-minded
electorate we might have more arts-minded
legislators who would not be as likely, as
they are today, to ignore the role of the
arts in society. We might also understand
those things that our artists are telling us
about ourselves and our society and
eventually start making a society in which
we would understand and enjoy man as a
human being and reject one-dimensional
man, the computer-carded animal who
lives and works in the blighted slum or glass
and concrete slab.
Statement by Stanley Kauffmann, theatre
and film critic, writer and lecturer on the
A standard opening for symposiasts is to
quarrel with the title of the symposium.
At the risk of orthodoxy, I follow suit. My

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