Art Takes No Breaks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Every year, millions of people travel thousands of miles to get a glimpse of it. They pay money simply to be in its presence and savor its glory. It’s been reproduced on ties and mugs and even underwear. It’s old, and behind bullet-proof glass. It has timeless elegance and spurred the creation of a very successful, controversial novel. It’s never run bases or tackled a defensive guard, yet it still packs a punch after hundreds of years. Leonardo DaVinci’s Mona Lisa is a fine example of what art can do for the masses.

But what if that all changed? What if every painting and sculpture simply didn’t exist? What if the Sistine Chapel were never finished and every wall in the Louvre were left blank? What if art as we know it were pushed aside? These scenarios, to those who know art, are frightening but slowly becoming a reality. The arts are being neglected. This shouldn’t just cause the art world to shudder, however, but also all who take pride in education and culture. The arts, after all, hold a crucial educational, social and emotional importance in society and require more consideration than they are currently given. Every day around the country, students are engaged in learning math, science and English. Most schools make time for students to perform some sort of athletics. This dedication to keeping children active is important and funding is given accordingly, but when it comes to financially supporting the arts in schools, it seems that sports supplies trump paints because the arts are considered talent-driven. Although sports have their place, when the arts are neglected, we lose what they can do for people and their education. Art helps children learn basic colors as well as shapes and common objects, like trying to represent family members in a stick-figures or molding an animal out of clay. Art in schools expands classroom communication when students critique each other’s work. Art in the classroom also helps build character and accomplishment when students complete works and feel good about what they have done. These experiences are lost to those whose schools no longer have art programs.

When a community is artless, it loses culture. Communities that don’t strongly support the arts have no choice but to find alternative methods of expression and entertainment. Most artless communities resort to athletics as the only way for youth to be involved. This is the result of not knowing what the arts have to offer a community and labeling them a problem instead of another route to success.

The arts let a community display its talent by showcasing work at galleries and through events. When this happens, people are more likely to visit the area and help support the cause by paying entry fees or donating money to the exhibit or gallery. Another strong cultural aspect of art is that it exposes people to the lifestyles and emotions of those around them. Art, based on emotion and expression, can help connect cultures and expand how a community is seen as a whole.

Art, when taken seriously, can open up worlds of expression and understanding. It can dramatize an artist’s thoughts or help express the feelings of a nation. The arts tap into human emotion and reflect those time periods as well as how people see the world. Many however, look at the arts as a waste of time because they don’t understand what an artist is feeling.

The arts let us feel and make us think, whether we understand the artwork or not. If you eliminate that, society won’t be able to understand free thought and feel the emotion art has to offer.

Artwork gives us freedom, and in a world where that is threatened, people should support their local art efforts. The arts are about letting go and giving all you’ve got to change the way people think, feel or even act. It’s safe to say that if we let art fall by the wayside, with it goes our culture and our rich history of rebellion, expression and a love for the world and its future.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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magic-esi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm
This is a great article! I like your point- people don't pay enough attention to art nowadays. However, I also want to add that 'the arts' also includes music and literature. (as well as other arts, like cooking or fashion design). None of these are being emphasized in schools or society nearly enough.
 
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