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Why Art Matters

By Mike de Sousa
February 17, 2021

There are some, and I count myself among them, who listen to music, see a painting or photograph, read a poem, and feel their world transformed by art's beauty and power. This transformation is not just for the moment of their experience, but more lasting. These are art lovers, but they are relatively few.

It is more usual for people to experience art in the same way as they might a meal. It might be tasty during its consumption, but its significance is relatively short, and its power to change a person's mood or make them act is slight.

Art for most is perhaps little more than a distraction, an entertainment, a pastime. At least that's how many might think of it... In truth I think it is far more, even to those who care not to admit it.

Art in all its forms is how humans reach beyond their world to another. Another person, another creature, another nature. Art is physical, emotional, and spiritual. It is the articulation and expression of being human.

Art is the means to leave aside myself and inhabit the mind and feeling of another without their being beside me. It is perhaps how you feel with a book that captures your imagination, your heart, your intellect and spirit. It is the statue from thousands of years ago you hold in your hand that connects you through time with its touch and form. This is the experience of art and it leads to change our inner world, and how we act upon and in the world...

Art is vital and not simply a pastime, but a great and noble project. Art is the stage where we explore and share our ideas about the world, and persuade others of our experience and vision of how it has been, is, and can be. Without art, we would have no place to go, no vision of the future, for our hopes and dreams would never be described in light, word, or sound that moves us to feel and act beyond the small ambition of ourselves.

When you see a painting or photograph, hear music, or read words, smile for a moment, shed a tear, feel, think. Wait one moment more and you will find far more below its surface, and within.

Art matters because its experience moves us beyond ourselves and makes us more...

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