WHAT would life be like without art? Pretty dull, in my view. Art and artists enrich our lives in ways we don’t always appreciate. Apart from the works of art that some of us are lucky enough to acquire for our homes, the world around us is made more beautiful and bearable by the talents of artists. After all, someone designed the gorgeous container for your perfume, the label on your favourite bottle of wine, the jazzy packaging your ready meal came in, the wallpaper you chose for your dining room. Is this art? It takes creativity, imagination and special skills to do it, so I think it is.
Appreciation of art and making art is an inescapable part of being human. Even when we lived in caves we still felt the need to decorate the walls. It took skill, and it was pretty dark in those caves, so it wasn’t just about adornment. We used a visual medium to tell the story of daily life and leave a record for generations to come. The legacy we have from those primitive artists is a priceless picture of our earliest existence. Think of more recent composers, writers and poets. Chaucer and Shakespeare continue to help us make sense of our world today. Benjamin Britten understood that you can reach people through music, and that children just want to sing. Where am I going with this?
‘The arts are vital to our existence . . . part of the way we communicate, express ourselves, share experiences, even sell things’
When times get tough, it’s easy for all arts to be sidelined, deemed low priority, an expensive luxury. Yet the arts are vital to our existence. They’re part of the way we communicate, express ourselves, share experiences, even sell things. For all these reasons they’re extremely important in helping people with mental health problems and disability. They bring communities together - just think of how many festivals Suffolk now hosts, bringing in valuable tourism pounds. They raise many thousands of pounds for charity - Art for Cure is a brilliant example. They help us to be well – you only have to witness how people with Alzheimers respond to music. There’s been some great work done in encouraging kids to work hard at science and maths, and rightly so. Future generations must develop technologies, medicines and knowledge that will benefit human life. My plea is that we continue to give the same emphasis to the arts, so that our children also become artists, writers and composers. Without them, human life will be poorer in every sense of the word. Jayne Lindill, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Art gets the message across . . . Sky Ocean Rescue’s 10 metre plastic whale, made of single-use plastics recovered from the sea, beach cleans and recycling plants, on show at Felixstowe beach. Photo: Gregg Brown