HOW TO ENCOURAGE ART

By William Markiewicz

In the past, royalty was the patron of the arts, which magnified their lifestyles and courtly events. Their emissaries talked to the Masters who recommended their most gifted students, so the stream of talent was assured. In the Republics, art became a business matter between the artist and art galleries. Government contributes to the art world by financing art exhibits in public galleries. In order to expand this involvement and, simultaneously, increase public interest in art and culture I would propose to dig into local traditions. Examples: In practically every locality there are monuments or plaques commemorating important events and personages connected to the place. It would be a good idea to enhance those memories with appropriate festivities and invite artists to participate. Musicians, actors, plastic artists, would have opportunities to appear, from place to place, event to event, perhaps all through the year. In Paris there were - and probably still are - Art Salons lasting one month, one following another; the accepted artists could remain visible for a whole year without depending on commercial galleries. It's a nice way to carry on the old patronage of the arts. A very nice way, also, to facilitate a coming out of the closet for countless creative individuals who don't find a place in commercial galleries. As one gallery owner said to me: "Talent is only 50 per cent of success; the rest is Karma and commercial rentability, which doesn't always reflect artistic quality." There are too many highly creative people to find a commercial niche. They make their living at something else and produce art and literature for their friends, or - what a pity - just for themselves. In our prosperous society there should be a way to give them the opportunity to culturally enrich the society at large.

A friend of mine made a TV documentary in one of the Latin American favelas, a neighborhood of blood, misery and drugs, where pre-teens prostitute themselves or knock anybody off for a handful of money. He broadcast stories, songs, dances, poetry from the neighbourhood. The society at large that wouldn't risk a visit to those areas discovered the well of talent there. It goes without saying that it was a great mutual discovery, a sort of cease-fire that probably did a lot to diminish crime and gave an outlet to talents from the other side of the barricade.

No doubt that in our relatively peaceful and prosperous society, to "socialise" the art scene would also be beneficial. There are never too many cultural events and artists will gain an opportunity to escape their undeserved neglect.

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