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My wife and I often receive e-mails from one of the administrators at the local Hershey Theater because of some volunteer work we have done from time to time there.  A few weeks ago we received an interesting e-mail from her that put out an interesting call to action. 

It seems that in our area, and I would imagine this is hardly a regional thing, many high school drama groups were having problems selling tickets.  Given the state of the economy this is hardly surprising, but it is still a sad fact.  She also included a list of local hight school’s and the dates of their winter/spring productions.  As a result, my wife and I have plans to take in a production this evening.

The reason I’m writing about this today is that this phenomenon is one that I’m sure is striking more than just high school productions.  I would imagine that the arts in general are suffering a bit with the economy the way it is.  And, while I understand that, after all a play is a luxury in these times, it is something that could be catastrophic to the cultural integrity of our society.

Many of the organizations, museums, playhouses, and other cultural outlets operate on shoestring budgets that barely allow them to keep the lights on.  They depend, in many case, on government grants and charitable donations just to stay afloat.  The problem is that is these times donations and attendance dwindle.  And as these funds disappear it becomes that much easier for bureaucrats to slash or eliminate any public support these organizations have in order to move the money to pet projects that will bring them greater prestige.

I don’t want to live in a society without the arts.  THe cultural and educational value of artistic pursuits is immeasurable.  Within the music, art, drama, and literary endeavors of a people lie the heart and soul of their generation and their culture so that others may know who we were in years beyond our passing.  Without the arts we become a society of pure intellect and muscle, with no soul, destined to be forgotten and disdained.

I urge everyone who reads this to help support the arts.  Attend a high school musical.  Take in a local art or photography exhibit.  Attend a concert.  It doesn’t even need to cost you a dime.  Your attendance at a free concert in a park or a free exhibition of local artists let’s the community, and our politicians know, that there are still some who deem the arts important.  It is much harder for them to cut off their financial lifeline when that is the case.

JFK once said:

“Above all, we are coming to understand that the arts incarnate the creativity of a free people.  When creative impulses cannot flourish, when it cannot freely select its methods and objects, when it is deprived of spontaneity, then society severs.” 

I couldn’t have said it better myself.


One Comment

  1. I am completely biased on this one but I do want to gently remind everyone that all great civilizations have had arts present from Rome to today.

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