Art is not just that glorious masterpiece hanging in a local museum; art is everything and art is everywhere. From when you wake up in the morning, to when you travel to work, and then retire to bed – art is the design of your home, the music you nod along to on the radio and the television you watch to relax in the evening. So, you might scoff, why write an article on a world without art? My answer to that is this: we live in a society that appears, on the surface, to celebrate the wonders of art, whilst in fact we are actually tearing art down and making it inaccessible for many.
The beauty of art
The beauty and value of art are that it should be for everyone; it enables anyone – no matter what their background, social upbringing, or ethnicity – the freedom to express themselves. However, in a country that is subject to sustained and severe funding cuts, the arts become a soft target. Often relying on patrons’ support, funding and donations, the arts have difficulty fighting back when it comes to having resources withdrawn. Yet, this is hardly going to be a cause of great turmoil to a government that is continuously pushing the “benefits” of simply taking the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects in schools. It is ingrained into children at a young age that their only way forward is to push aside the brilliantly enriching opportunities of the arts to ignore them in favour of STEM. When more than half of art teachers are considering leaving their profession, something has gone seriously awry.
Arts are here for you
Never fear, though, the arts are of course still available to you – if you are privileged enough. A study by the Sutton Trust released earlier this year has described the acting industry as “heavily skewed towards the privileged” with 73% of British film and theatre performers having a private education or middle-class background.
What makes art valuable?
Elitism in the arts is becoming a growing concern; lack of access at a local authority level (as well as at secondary schools), low arts provisions, ever-increasing tuition fees and cuts to already measly benefits prevent lower socio-economic groups from battling their way out of the low-income situation they were born into. This is compounded by the fact that art institutions are then unable to pay a living wage to those who do manage to break into the world of the arts. So, this all adds up to a slow destruction of what makes art so valuable: diversity.
Art is for life
People must stand up, fight for this diversity and not allow art to be diminished or undermined. If we do not, we begin to allow our lives to be drained of colour, vivacity, spirituality, freedom, and therefore we begin to build the foundations of a world without art. Art is life for us all, and we should ensure it is for the many, not just a few.
Could you live in a world without art? Let us know in the comments below!