Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wish list for the arts

Writing for The Huffington Post, Michael Kaiser, president of Washington's Kennedy Center and one of the leading voices cautioning against artistic retrenchment in recessionary times, pens a five-point wish list for arts institutions and the people who run them:


No. 4, sustaining arts instruction in school curricula, strikes me as the wish that, if fulfilled, offers the greatest rewards, for the arts, the economy and society in the U.S. and other advanced countries. "The majority of economic activity is no longer tied to manufacturing," Kaiser writes. "We need our children to be creative problem solvers if they are to be successful and if our nation is to thrive. The arts are a great and inexpensive way to help children exercise their creative muscles."

Until that message gets through, arts education and the arts in the public sphere are at continued risk of marginalization.

For it to get through, artists need to recruit the right messengers: New-economy corporate leaders whose success depends on building a talent pool of creative problem solvers. When they speak, politicians and educational authorities will listen.