Why do we need art? Everyone has a different answer for this question, and some, I’m sure, don’t believe we need it at all. The past millennia have seen an incredible display of the artistic capabilities of humankind, and it’s so clear how inherently engrained it is in our biological makeup. It’s used for both practical and aesthetic purposes; communication, expression, self-reflection, and empathy. Perhaps it’s one of the many tools we use to try and understand one another. Museums are simply houses for art, but they have the potential to be true sanctuaries for the disenfranchised, for the misunderstood. Do we as humans have a responsibility to one another to provide these sources of refuge for others’ survival? In these turbulent times, art is used as socio-political commentary, giving voice to those who do not have one and motion to positive change. Is it simply a matter of funding, or is it also attitude and consciousness that denies the necessary resources for museums to become great mechanisms for important dialogues? In the past few decades, museums have become wonderful forms of secondary educational resources for school children. It’s my hope that we can do right by our children and provide them with access to fruitful leisure learning, separate from the confines of a school desk chair, where they are provided the opportunity to learn a vastness of things through art, and in doing so, understand the world they’re growing up in.
So, why do we need art? Maybe, at the end of the day, it helps us relate to one another, and form a basis of compassion. These are just a few thoughts on why we need art, and I truly think art museums can nourish this attempt at understanding.
Why do you believe we need art?
By Katherine Hellberg, Intern at Dubuque Museum of Art