Monday, October 6, 2008

Art and Universities

I highly recommend reading "Higher art, Universities should become society's great patrons of the arts," by Marjorie Garber, in The Boston Globe, on Sunday October 5, 2008.

Here is a quote from her writing, to spark your interest:

"What should the role of art be in the modern university? Today, art often serves as what business calls a "loss leader" - an appealing product offered at a nonprofit-making price in order to attract buyers. A college or university can advertise its dance or theater or musical groups, or its art classes and galleries, with handsome photos on the website and in the brochure, while at the same time reserving its major fund-raising efforts - and major donors - for science laboratories, international affairs, or sports teams.

It may be that the time has come for the university to become a patron of the arts, embracing and funding the actual making of art on a new scale, and bringing to bear all its institutional traditions of judgment, peer review, and freedom of ideas. An open-minded patronage, providing courses taught by the most talented artists - in the same way that the university seeks the most talented philosophers, psychologists, and physicists - could change both the way we learn, and the way we encounter the world."

About the author, also quoting from The Boston Globe, "Marjorie Garber is chair of the department of visual and environmental Studies at Harvard University, and director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. This article is adapted from her new book, "Patronizing the Arts" (Princeton University Press)."

Ms Garber's piece is very worth reading, and pondering. If you have trouble reading long articles on your computer, I suggest printing it out. Or better yet, buy her book!

Many thanks to The Boston Globe for placing her writing on the front page of the Ideas Section! I'm always happy when they have Arts related articles in the paper, and happier when they're on the front page of what ever section.