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Why the Arts Matter, Now

Last night, I had the pleasure of being a panelist in a conversation at the Neuberger sponsored by Impact 100, a Westchester County organization whose members pool their funds to support a variety of causes. The last question of the evening to me and my fellow panelists was “Why do the arts matter?”

When my turn came to speak, I asked the moderator if I could adjust the question slightly to “Why do the arts matter, now?”  If you’ll indulge me, I thought I might share with you some of my answer:

I believe that we live in a moment of great reactiveness and, regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, I would venture to guess that you, like me, can sometimes be a little more reactive than usual to what you hear and to what you see.  Those of us who teach through the arts have the great opportunity to show people of all ages, but especially young people, the many ways in which listening to or looking at art can prompt constructive conversation, promote dialogue, and make space for differing opinion. And that’s a space we need right now… a space for seeing others, for hearing others, and for allowing others to see and hear us.  To me, it’s why the arts matter, now. 

Tracy Fitzpatrick, Director
Neuberger Museum of Art