What is the true value of art in society?|
Some in positions of power at this university feel that the only true value of art is the visible monetary value. These same people make accusations at artists saying that what they do wastes money and does not have any impact on the everyday citizen, breaking everything down to suggestive numbers and figures.
The truth is, according to a 1985 report published by the Department of Culture and Recreation, the arts and other cultural industries were shown to inject $280 million annually into the Saskatchewan provincial economy. The arts were also proven to create jobs.
Statistics Canada figures have also shown that while it costs $101,000 to support a single job in manufacturing, that same job in the cultural sector can be supported for only $17,000.
For each dollar the government invests in arts, it is not unusual for it to recoup 86 cents through its various taxes.
"The arts tell us about ourselves and others. They record occurrences, hopes, beliefs,
| dreams, visions and memories... (They) broaden our thinking, challenge our skills and increase our sensitivity"|
-St Walburg Allied Arts Council
Art heightens our cultural awareness, interprets ideas to all cultures and languages, expresses feelings, surpasses time, and foreshadows changes in society. In no way could society survive without art.
There is a wide-spread perception that art is non-essential. Health care and highways are perceived as worthy of tax-based dollars because they are considered essential to the well-being of society. Art is also essential to societal health and well-being.
Artists strive for the same answers as pure scientists. They struggle with concepts and theories through the manifestations of their expression, their work. Rather than analyzing scientific data to draw conclusions about the nature of the universe, they analyze the human condition through their own experience.
The economic "cleansing" occurring in the Fine Arts faculty at the University of Regina will only lead to a mass exodus of the province's young artists and professors to more culturally fertile regions. |
It is the same exodus that has occurred in Alberta since the Klein government's cuts to Arts funding in Alberta.
An artistic wasteland.
A creativity holocaust.
So why do those in positions of power insist on strangling the FIne Arts faculty out of artistic existence?
Because statistics can be manipulated. Because certain administrators are better with numbers and figures than they are with people.
And we were warned by a theatre professor who retired from this university two years ago:
"The barbarians have stormed the gates," he said, and that eventually, "Reaction will come here."
Dr. Scholar, you were right.