East TN News
East TN News

The Relevance Of Art in our World

By John M Disque


Photo By John M Disque (9/22/10)

Today's popular opinion seems to be that art is some sort of luxury or added benefit that we have the option to share. A large percentage of people have the attitude that we can do without it and that it can be put on the back burner, and we can wait. Art is not something that should be suppressed or denied. The reality is that it plays a vital role in every aspect of our existence. Many people have the misconception that it's really not that important; therefore, it's the first to go when there are economic cutbacks. Funding for the arts, along with interest, is cut and, at first glance, everything is okay. "Who needs the ballet?" we say.

Imagine, for just a moment, a world without artists. Take a look around you, not just at the painting on your wall or your CD collection but the very computer that you're sitting at, the shape of your desk, the color of your clothes and all the things that turn your life from a stale, boring existence into a colorful, exciting adventure. 

Without art or artists we are doomed to a depressed and predictable black and white world, yet local artists have very little support from our communities. 

At one time, an artist was recognized and monetarily rewarded by their ability to create beauty, conversation, or popular ways to express their talent. Today, most artists are recognized by their luck to be born physically attractive, their fortune to know the right people, and the size of their bank account.

Local artists don't get much exposure until they're popular. How does one become popular if they don't get the needed exposure? While this issue opens the door for companies and wealthy artists to buy their way in, it closes the doors to the largest percentage of truly gifted artists. It is the sole underlying reason for the watered down limited art that appears to exist today. Listening to top 40 music is discouraging and makes the general public think that there's a lack of talent in today's culture, but that isn't true. The true artists today are being denied a chance. It boils down to an industry that is controlled and limited by a certain number of individuals and companies. Artists have been banging their heads against this wall for many years. The artist is then forced to put their talent aside and focus most of their energy on common everyday needs like eating. 

These facts have proven to some communities that it's time for local businesses and community leaders to take another look at the art industry. It's time for the people of East Tennessee to do the same.

Although the most popular forms of art are music, literature, film, photography, sculpture, and paintings, art is also used in all forms of business from new ideas to their creation right through the marketing and sales. Demand for creative, energetic minds has never been greater. With all of that you would think communities across the globe would recognize the vital role that artists play throughout nearly every aspect of life, but it isn't the case. 

Although the Knoxville art community is doing its best to support local artists, we need more political and business awareness as well as more community effort to ensure our local artists receive the recognition they deserve. Over the next six weeks I will be highlighting these organizations and detailing what each is doing to support local artists. Along with that, I will be introducing new organizations throughout East Tennessee dedicated to preserving and nurturing the very backbone of our society.


Published in Knoxville Daily Sun December 27, 2010

Published in East TN News October 10, 2011

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