“What is art?” is a common query, drawing lively conversations, but rarely a consensus. However, a mutually satisfying answer to the question, “Why is art?” is much more attainable. So, in terms of the fine arts, what is their role in society? Is it entertainment? Political statements? Self-expression? Do they help us in real ways or are they just an accessory?
From a quick glance through history, it is apparent that the fine arts have uniquely benefited humans of every culture in countless ways. Through their use of beauty, story, and metaphor, the arts reflect meaning and the human experience, particularly as it relates to emotion, and thus have the distinct ability to open locked doors of the heart, making transformation possible.
The arts foster empathy, show life through another’s eyes, connect generations, and strengthen our sense of community; they challenge individuals to grow in their knowledge of themselves, and to access a greater percentage of our souls. The arts ask and explore questions about the common human experience, hold a mirror up to society, provide shared experiences, teach, challenge, inspire, reveal truth, reflect values, stretch boundaries, help us know we are not alone, and serve as a communication tool for abstract concepts and difficult issues. In short, the arts help us to become better versions of ourselves.