Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Let Them Eat Art

I am very concerned about this economic downturn for a lot of reasons. I am worried we will not be able to sell our house when we need to for the price it is worth, I worry our stock will not be worth what we need it to next year when we buy a much more expensive place, I am worried I will receive less freelance work and I am worried that R will lose his job, too. I have no real basis for concern with any of these worries, but a recession scares me. I am not at all surprised that this administration has driven us into a recession, but I am scared.

And then I had the pleasure of reading this article and rather than feel scared for the middle class, instead I feel irate. Please not the part when it says that museums do not lack for large donations from wealthy benefactors, but the small organizations, like the HOMELESS SHELTER FOR TEEN MOMS is supported solely by the middle class. Does this strike anyone besides me as utterly insane? A shelter that provides for young, struggling moms and their tiny offspring might go under in this recession, but at at least we will still be fighting the war with Iraq and, oh yeah, we will also get to go to the MFA and look at Rembrandt.

Ok, so I was not an art history major but I do love art. I spent semesters in both Florence and London and spent 99.9 percent of my time in both programs touring museums. Art is an incredibly worthy cause and I support it wholeheartedly. But where are the $1,000 a plate dinners for shelters like the one described in the article? I am sorry, but given the choice between one homeless teen mother's life and a better life for her child versus a couple painting restorations and I am going to save that mom's life. Aesthetics be damned.

Sometimes I really wonder what is wrong with this country's values. While I do not necessarily like private charities as I think services like this should be federally funded, the fact remains that thanks to our shoddy system, they are not. There are few social services in our country that are fully federally funded so it is up to the middle and upper-middle and upper-upper classes to provide the rest for programs such as these. And apparently, those with the means say, "let them eat art."

1 comment:

Kristi said...

It's much safer to support art than it is to support knocked up teenagers and their illegitimate offspring. There is so much that is wrong with this country, it makes me furious every time I think about it.