Light on the Arts

Panorama - Nouveau Magazine, June 2002
Alan Fetterman

The arts are humanity's soulful reflections pouring forth, and in many ways they are a huge part of the social strength of a civilization. In fact, a nation's greatness can be readily gauged by its ability to inspire, nurture and promote the arts. So it is unfortunate that during these difficult times, the arts are not being more strongly embraced. Instead, they are being hindered by massive cutbacks. Across the nation, arts organizations are disappearing; lack of funding has forced the cancellation of thousands of programs of symphony orchestras, opera, theatre and dance compa- nies, and museums and art centers. Placing blame is easy because it is generally clear which policies and agendas are against the arts and humanities.

But focusing on blame does not produce remedies, so now is the moment to retool, regenerate and revitalize by means of every method available. As a person who survives exclusively as an artist, I know well the front lines—a place full of life but never secure. It is also clear to me that there are many extraordinary artists in this region who are taking it on the chin, yet they continue to create, donate and support as many of the artistic and cultural facets of our magnificent valley as they can. In these trying times, many areas of society have weakened, that is clear, but to allow humanity's finest traits—imagination and creativity—to suffer will only remove more shine from our dreams, hopes and insights.

There are no fast answers. The rebuilding will be slow. Nonetheless, these days require all of us to believe and regroup. As our fine region holds proudly to its extraordinary past and present as one of the most well recognized arts and cultural districts in the country, let us all forge positive thoughts and actions and reach toward the future. For the many groups and individuals who depend on the arts for their livelihoods, that means doing more and surviving on less. It also means that as new opportunities to rebuild arise, the community must support and rally behind the new growth. The rebuilding also requires that grass-roots groups, clubs, institutions, local and state governments and, of course, all of us who call this land home put forth more effort and embrace each others' projects. Art is a powerful and faithful force. It is the mirror of our existence. It opens communication, understanding, awareness, vibrancy, insight and passion for a better way of life. It is in great part what unites us.

Being an artist is simply showing your neighbors what you think and feel. But as a whole, art becomes a reflection of us all. " Farewell Statement: Today, after four years, I turn the page on Panorama to further concentrate on my art. It has been a priviledge to write for Nouveau Magazine, and an honor to share my thoughts and be heard. I graciously thank you, one and all, for being a reader of my words.

© Alan Fetterman Fine Arts