A couple of years ago, I was invited to attend a performance by the San Francisco Ballet Company. The production was of Swan Lake, a repertory that revealed a powerful lyrical performance of love, sorcery and betrayal.
I was transfixed by the transcendent beauty and magnificence of the dancers as they seemed to soar, glide and twirl effortlessly across the stage. This experience reinforced in me the importance of the arts and how a truly beautiful piece of artistry can provoke an emotion of complete enchantment that a person will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
In our pragmatic culture, many see art as optional. Often careers in the arts are discouraged by parents or educators as being fruitless or impractical. Rather than celebrating its beauty and brilliance, art is considered of lesser importance than other subjects. The sector is experiencing increasing financial difficulties, and Australian Federal government budget cuts of $52.5 million over four years will hit museums, galleries and the screen sector hardest. Artistic development and appreciation of the arts by children may also be affected by a drop in the number of youth performing arts organisations in Australia – from 21 programs in 2007 to just four currently. Often these entities stem artistic creativity for children and adults alike, as they enjoy, learn and become inspired by what they see from other artists. Many of these impacts reach beyond the arts sector and influence creativity and innovation in the wider economy, while also contributing to happy and engaged individuals and communities.
Here at Culture Counts, we celebrate creative brilliance. By offering a platform that captures artist, peer, and public feedback on the quality and reach of the arts, we help the sector to better capture and communicate its importance. As a recent employee of Culture Counts, I have enjoyed the opportunity to advocate for the arts sector through my work. Through attending and evaluating a mix of cultural events around the city of Perth, I have witnessed firsthand the impact that the arts have on the community as a whole. It is clear that this effect goes beyond mere monetary value and I hope that it continues to inspire and produce a new generation of renowned artists.
Main image Source: Swan Lake – https://www.sfballet.org/