Arts and Culture
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Artistic and cultural enrichment is essential to building a more just and democratic society. The highest purpose of art is to inspire – to induce experiences that enrich the inner life, provide new insights, increase awareness, and prompt people to take action to improve the world. Often rooted in inter-disciplinary, participatory collaborations that build supportive communities as a by-product of the creative process, the arts enable individuals and communities to communicate their sense of identity, concerns, and hopes for the future and to increase broad understanding of those issues.
A rich, diverse array of cultural expression is essential to a healthy, vibrant democracy, for it enables all significant segments of the population to have a voice and be heard in the “marketplace of ideas.” Yet increasingly, the dominant culture is reducing arts to passive entertainment geared first of all to making money for the wealthy global corporations that invest needed funds. Culture is becoming uniform, monolithic, and formulaic – as epitomized by top-40 radio and network television. The “masses” become objectified consumers whose tastes are manipulated with sophisticated techniques.
To counter these trends, we need to strengthen the vibrant community arts network that is dedicated to art-as-action involving ordinary people in artistic expression, collaborating with community-based organizations to give voice to the disenfranchised, making art through the lens of diverse cultures, and creating new tools that integrate, synthesize, and articulate knowledge toward the goal of promoting social justice and personal empowerment.
The resources in this Section reflect this perspective.
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