During the Paradise Debate on August 29 this year - it was inevitable - Prince Bernhard junior came up regularly.
You know, the man who represents the organization that invited a musician to perform for free at that mega-event, because extra exposure for the artist in these lean times. The prince - who seemed to know no evil - did not come up for discussion so much as a person, but more as a representative of a general attitude towards art and artists: not necessary, a luxury, an extra, a hobby for the side.
The prince - who seemed to know no evil
Anne Demeester summed it up well in her speech in Paradiso. Paraphrasing: for some people art is indeed a hobby, but for many it is a profession that produces necessary but difficult to define products, and a profession with which the bills have to be paid. Because the prince represents a sentiment that is very broadly held, it is of great importance to consistently spread a different sound that will be internalized in the long run, namely, "Art is essential!" For example, because people need fiction, stories to make sense and meaning, to understand better, to channel fears, to think about a future, or to escape from this world once in a while. Demeester called for the word (art is essential) to be spread relentlessly, to be preached, so that eventually its awareness will permeate politics, policy makers, and art will become an inseparable part of everything we consider essential.
It is critical to consistently spread a different sound that will be internalized in the long run, namely, "Art is essential!"
A good idea. So let's start right away with our immediate surroundings: at family parties, in the supermarket, the waiting room, on the train, on the platform and so on. Convince those you can, so that they too will say and proclaim, "Art is essential." Then it will slowly seep through, become part of our collective consciousness and then politics will never be able to avoid it. Are you participating?
But how do I deliver that message, I hear you think, how do I explain the essence of art? The best way to do that, of course, is with a good answer to the question of why art is essential. Demeester cited the WHO report showing that art is essential to health (you can use the WHO fact sheet download here). My answer might be that art is essential because it provides a social and critical counterpoint and in that sense democratizes.
What, for you, are the reasons why art is essential? We would love to gather your views, opinions and justifications. Looking for answers to questions like: What are we saying when we explain that art is essential? How do you discuss this with someone who thinks differently or someone who 'has other things on his mind'? How do you give a concrete answer to this why-question? How do we spread the word?
For you, what are the reasons why art is essential? We hereby make an appeal to you, our reader.
We hereby make an appeal to you, our reader. Would you let us know how you see it? We then post your motivations on our website, ultimately creating a digital reference book that everyone can draw from and explain in detail to anyone who wants to read it: Art is essential!
For inspiration, you can watch the 2021 Paradise Debate back here.