Should governments spend money on art, when they have so many other important issues and concerns?
Art is a basic human need. Governments have a responsibility to spend money on art for their citizens.
Throughout the ages, man has tried to create beauty through painting, music, sculpture and other artistic expression. It seems to be a basic need of humans to surround themselves with art. However some people feel that government money spent on art is wasted, particularly when there are so many other demands on it. This essay will examine the conflict between those who say art is important and those who feel it is a waste of money.
It can be wrong for governments to spend large sums of money on art. Too often, governments spend unwisely. They spend money on art not because a picture is good or a museum is needed, but for political reasons. Cities end up with huge statues or empty expensive buildings that are used only by a few people or the elite. Another point is that the artworks are often chosen to represent social or political rather than artistic ideas. The city gets yet another statue of the leader or an ugly monument to national aspirations. A third point is that governments often respond to fashions, and tastes in art can change very rapidly. Without careful advice an expensive collection of worthless paintings or tasteless productions can be the result.
However, it would be wrong to say that governments should not spend any money at all on art. Painters, musicians, and composers cannot survive without financial support. Rich people or large companies do finance art, but then it is often inaccessible to ordinary people. Governments have a duty to make this art available to everyone. However, the most important reason why governments should support the arts is because an appreciation of art is one of the things that makes life worthwhile. Humans do not need just shelter and food. Creative people have always tried to look at things in a new way and to make the world a better place through painting, music, poetry, calligraphy, sculpture, dance, and numerous other forms of expression. While art may not make us immortal, it does make the world a richer place for future generations.
In conclusion, although people do need to be provided with the necessities of life, such as housing and medical care, governments also have a duty to provide their citizens with something more. They should make sure that they pass on beauty, ideas and expression to the next generation and make art available to all instead of being the possession of only the few. I firmly believe that spending money on art is a vital part of a government’s responsibility, and I am confident that my country will be able to contribute its share to the richness of the world’s art and creativity.
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