The Arts Within Society

Well, this is my first blog for THE Photographer & Artist, and within my blogs I plan on keeping up to date with latest trends in the art world (looking at contemporary artists). As well I will be posting updates in regarded to new projects and upcoming work so keep an eye on if there is anything new coming up. Finally I will be including blog posts that look and question aspects within the art world, touching upon subjects and providing opinions on said matter (this may or may not be shared by the viewers), with this first post being an example. 

 I want to delve into the topic of The Arts in regard to society and a mixed opinion from the general public concerning potential careers in the Art industry. Being a university student I don’t have the experience to talk about art as a professional career path yet, however I have seen a negative backlash in response to the subject of The Arts. Now I’m not saying every person I have met has shared this negative opinion, as a fair few agree that the arts are beneficial to our society, but more and more I’m starting to hear “Oh you study an art subject.. What you planning on doing for a career after your degree, are you likely even to get one..?” “Good luck finding a job in the art industry..” “How come you didn’t pick a STEM subject? They have more career potential and you make more money..” 

 To those who don’t know what STEM subjects is the abbreviation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and refers to these subjects in education. A lot of students choose to study STEM subjects (yes I personally believe are what helps build the backbone of a country, as you need scientists, engineers and such) this fact I do not dispute. However to be told that because I choose to do a degree in an art subject it isn’t as meaningful? It’s not hard to see that there has been plenty of discussion concerning the negative backlash of the arts, hearing each and every year that the arts funding is being cut, galleries and the like are now having to really heavily more on donations and volunteers. And it can be debated that The arts can be still run with the cuts, but this is highly unlikely for example looking at the news on the arts, to see so many celebrity artists calling to save the funding for arts is incredible. Public libraries and schools are getting hit, for example, 

“Pembrokeshire county council music service needing to cut their funding by £75,000 in 2014/15, and having to cut by the same amount in 2015/16. If the plans by Wiltshire council to cut music tuition as part of making a required £30m of savings go ahead, they could deprive those from lower-income families of benefiting from funding that placed music teachers in schools. These cases are not isolated; we are seeing similar occurrences right across the country.” 

 “The commission quite rightly sets out the value to Britain of the entire “eco-system” of cultural life, which starts with provision at the school level, and ends up by delivering brilliant public spectacles such as the opening of the Olympics. With the creative industries worth £76.9bn per year to the UK economy, it doesn’t make sense to hack off the grassroots provision that leads to the discovery and nurturing of talent and expressive ability. This damage to the fabric of cultural provision is especially dangerous as we may not even be aware of the full consequences till these children mature in 15 years’ time into an increasingly segregated society.” (Source: The Guardian, Austerity and the arts: the hidden cuts that are bad for our cultural health by David Pountney,

 In education, there is more of a push for the STEM subjects to take priority and in a way almost get rid of subjects that don’t come under this umbrella so to speak. In school, I myself, really wanted to originally pursue a career in the sciences and hopefully wanted to work in Marine Biology. But this dream was smashed by the fact that as a person, I don’t deal well with exams, stress and this meant that I could not achieve this goal. Instead I turned my attention to the arts and I found my calling in a way.
Taking photography, I found myself becoming more and more involved in the art world and loving every minute of it. Meeting tons of interesting new artists and opening my eyes to a vivid concoction of ideas, styles and imaginations, I had fallen into my wonderland and I didn’t want to leave.

 I divulge from the topic, whilst there are both positive opinions to why the arts should be important, let’s have a look at reasons why they aren’t. Some people have explained “art is just a pretentious subject, full of snobbish people”. In a way yes, but from an outside perspective looking in on the art world may be seeing contemporary art gallery’s and seeing contemporary works of art and in a way it’s almost seeing the elitism of the art world. This may give people the impression that we do come across as snobs, and in a way we do. But I’ve found that reading about the works, understanding all the hard work, sweat and blood that gets put into exhibiting work, and getting to know artists, they aren’t snobs, they are proud of their work. And so they should be! 

 Say for example an engineer creates a new amazing vehicle or building, that engineer isn’t going to keep quiet about their accomplishment, they would want to share it with people. This is the exact same process with art work, many artist’s want to share their talent with society so why should it be that people get shot down? 

 Another point brought up is “just what does the arts do for the society?”. Good question, but one easily answers with so many visible pieces of evidence. I’ve worked alongside workshops that are there for children in the community, I have seen artists who want to work together with the community to help make it better with the use of art. That is something I would consider doing something for society. As well, that amazing tv series that so many people love to watch, Game of thrones, couldn’t have been made without the help of so many artists, from makeup artists, the fashion stylists in the wardrobe department, to set design, the people behind the camera and the actors themselves. Tv programmes/Films just wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for artists. Those clothes you wear were designed by a fashion designer, the furniture in your house designed by an interior designer, architects who design the houses we live in, the list keeps going on and on. In a world of spectacularly designed movies, to outstanding theatre plays you can’t turn a corner without coming across some form of art.

 So hearing some people say just what does The Arts do for society, well in my opinion it makes a society. I think that there is always going to be negative and positive opinions to the study and practice of The Arts, but in my opinion they do ridiculous amounts for the community and not just that the economy as well. I think as well there shouldn’t be a negative opinion especially if someone chooses to go into the art industry, I think students should be encouraged to do what they feel is best and follow their heart for getting a career they want to do. Even if it is being a engineer or an artist it shouldn’t matter as both are just as important. This has been a brief little article on my views on The Arts within society, and In a future blog I will be looking delving into the topic of Studying art at a degree level, is it really needed? Thank you so much for taking your time to read this post and if you have any opinions or just want to have a say concerning The Arts within society please do send a message either via my email, which is available on the contact me page of this website or by messaging me on Facebook through my photography page. 

Signing out. - Thomas Huw Evans

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