Wayne Brown’s threat to the arts as a publicly-funded good flies in the particular face of wide research showing artwork makes the everyday struggles of urban living more bearable, writes Peter O’Connor
It is hard to know if Wayne Brown is nervous about being described because a philistine, or secretly delights in it. I can assure — or reassure – him that he is clearly a philistine, but that is probably one associated with the milder terms I have heard used in the last week from friends and colleagues within the arts sector.
Many have used terms like vandal plus lout. These terms are perhaps a lot more apt, since they describe someone who deliberately damages things of value rather than someone incapable associated with understanding the preciousness of the artistry. Friends in South Auckland settle on the particular term patronising when they read that he thinks galleries and the arts aren’t important to them.
The arts are usually soft targets for right-wing politicians such as Brown that have a sense that value can only be measured in financial terms. For them, life is just a series of business transactions, so people become consumers and customers rather than citizens. I’m not sure how you argue for the value associated with the arts, of community building with the vandals in charge of the council purses. It feels like the clash of values is too extreme for dialogue that might be meaningful.
As an academic I could, however, point to the study and evidence that speaks from the worth of the particular arts.
Over 3000 research studies inform a World Health Organisation report published in 2020 that obviously links the arts in order to individual and community health. Some of that analysis makes it clear that the arts are cheaper and more effective interventions within mental wellness than medical therapies. Research shows the particular arts helped many people cope with lockdowns. It seems ludicrous then, as we recover from Covid, in the barren wasteland of cones and $2 shops within the CBD, we have a mayor who threatens the existence of the arts as a publicly-funded good.
Research demonstrates that the particular arts are lifelines with regard to many of our young individuals in this city. They provide the reason to get out associated with bed, to mix plus meet along with others. To cut local community youth artistry programmes will feel like further abandonment for those who have used the particular arts because gateways in order to return to meaningful purposeful lives. The particular proposed cuts in this context are usually both cruel and short-sighted.
Study shows that will the arts bring people together in order to mourn, to remember, in order to celebrate and question our history. They construct our own identities since individuals plus communities in a way that nothing else can. The arts breathe life into a city, give it colour, soften the ugliness of everyday living in a cost-of-living crisis, by reminding us that shared joy and laughter makes the city liveable. Literally hundreds of studies worldwide report on this particular vital role of the artistry in making the everyday challenges of city living more bearable.
Neuroscience teaches us we are all born creative and that the particular arts in every culture are central to what makes all of us more fully human. A denial of that and leaving the arts to just those who can afford them is elitist. Paradoxically the argument used by the mayor is that will publicly-funded arts are a form of elitism. The simplistic and nasty attack on Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki last week and the particular arts community is taken from the Trump playbook.
The mayor attempts to justify these personal attacks by identifying with the particular common man (sic) in South Auckland who he says has no time for that arts. He claims bizarrely that this arts are a luxury item only the rich should have access to. Yet, it might surprise your pet that the particular most vibrant arts within the city are found in the south. On the streets and in homes and the beautiful galleries and performing arts centres across these types of suburbs, poetry, music, storytelling and traditional and contemporary art forms are cutting-edge and world-leading.
Fifty years ago, Gough Whitlam was creating modern Australia through investing in the artistry.
At his funeral, Australian actor Cate Blanchett quoted him:
Of all the objectives of my Government, none had a higher priority than the encouragement of the particular arts … I would argue that all the other objectives of a Government – social reform, justice plus equity within the provision of welfare services and educational opportunities – have as their goal the creation of the society in which the arts as well as the appreciation associated with spiritual and intellectual values can flourish.
If only we had such vision now within our leaders. Auckland deserves better compared to this.