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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Secrets of an Arts Administrator

Secrets of an Arts Administrator is a weekly blog post written by Bossier Arts Council's Executive Director, Leigh Anne Chambers.

Topic: Why is it important?

More than half my job is convincing people (sponsors, grant panels, elected officials, general public, artists) why the arts are important.  Often I have found myself stuck between frustration and elation but most of the time (for the sake of those around me) I try to stay positive.

Although, plenty of reason (including scientific, cultural, spiritual, financial) exist none of those are part of my blog post today.

Today, I want to talk about what it means to be "important".  (I know, I promised to stop defining words, but etymology is too darn fascinating.)  According to the online Merriam Webster Dictionary important means "marked by or indicative of significant worth or consequence".  On that note I think "important" can be a variety of things but what I find the most fascinating is that it changes given the individual.  An event of worth or consequence changes from person to person and culture to culture which makes it difficult to argue the importance of a single event.  However, I have been a part of art for as long as I can remember and what has always drawn me to artistic events was watching how it (art) affected those around me.

I remember clearly as a child seeing my Dad look at a painting and react.  It was an odd moment for me, because it was then that I was aware that he was thinking something.  That what he was looking at had stopped his own thoughts and taken them in an entirely new direction.  We have all seen the non-verbal response to art (film, music, visual arts, theatre, sculpture, etc.) on those around us.  We see it so much that I think it has become expected and thus goes unobserved.

As I write today I realize I don't have to "convince" anyone about the importance of art.  All I have to do is highlight what they already know, and have just taken for granted.  

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