Art is Humanity

William - Conyers, Georgia
Entered on May 15, 2008

I believe in the power of art. Art is essential to what it means to be, well, human. It’s not some high-brow triviality reserved for the upper class, nor is it the topic du jour for dry museum curators. Art is that singular piece of the veritable essence of a person

that I can look at, hold, hear, understand.

Art is deceivingly enough, much simpler than I give it credit — and I think that makes it all-the-more important.

It’s the ability to find beauty in the world around me.

That isn’t to say that wearing a beret and slinging paint at the nearest real estate — be it a canvas or public property — is a rite of passage to finding beauty in life. Not at all. Those stick figure drawings I made as a kid which brought with them the laughter and joy of my parents are just as much art as anything hanging in the Louvre. Sure, I don’t have the exposure or talent of those masters of technical prowess, but that’s not important.

By making art, regardless of how crude or simplistic it might be, I demonstrated that there were things in the world that were worth remembering as they were.

I believe that art is the only true way to capture the emotion in anything. I don’t care if it’s a fictional character, a photograph of a family holiday, or some good old fashioned finger paintings: it captures something that was clearly important to me. It is so incredibly important that we return value to this ideal that I’m writing an essay when I could well be sleeping, or better yet, just plain procrastinating.

Still, I fear in this day and age that art is unappreciated. This lack of understanding and appreciation for art among society has even gone so far as to slowly erode away its last sanctuary. Schools around the nation are cutting back on fine arts programs

in record numbers, opting to replace them with more preparation for standardized testing.

In light of the standardized tests for math, reading, writing, science… art seems not just unimportant: it seems unnecessary. It’s gotten so bad that most kids don’t even want to enroll in arts classes.

I don’t think that as a society already desensitized to so many things, that adding emotion to that list is a good thing. What does that say for me, as a person, if I can stand by and watch the one tangible bit of Humanity that we all share slip away into the void?

Moreover, what is life without that “depthless gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought”?

It’s hollow.