The Case for Creativity: The True Meaning of ‘Starving Artists’


image courtesy of Crafting Connections.

Earlier today it was brought to my attention that the Governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, had made her Budget Proposal for this year. While the overall proposal was sound, there’s just one part of it that doesn’t sit right with me. I am a member of the OFTA (Oklahomans for the Arts), which aims to make sure that funding and community for the arts remains intact in Oklahoma. It’s a well-known trend that the Arts has had peaks and lows in terms of funding, while always remaining at the bottom of the totem pole, yet in Oklahoma it seems to be a constant struggle. To sum up, her proposal requests that the Oklahoma City Arts Council merge with the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and the Historical Society which will in turn cut a massive amount of funding away from OCAC. You can find more information about this notice and OCAC on their site.

No Undermining Others

I would never say that any of the other causes that are focused on in the Budget Proposal aren’t worth the time or the money. Education, Infrastructure and Economic Growth are all vastly important to this and any state. Any country! Yet it’s being shown too often that people fail to see the value and importance of others gaining access to music, painting, dance, and the compass of art as a whole. For all practical purposes, and to meet the bare minimum of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, art is not all that important. There, I said it. We don’t need art to survive as a species or anything. That doesn’t mean we don’t need it at all. One could argue that art makes the difference between a meaningful and meaningless life.

Not Just For Some People

Art isn’t meant just for the people who create it. It’s meant to be shared and experienced with as many kinds of people as possible. It’s meant to feed a wide variety of palettes, and to inspire those who would not be doing their best without it. Too many kids nowadays are directing their attention towards destructive paths such as gangs and drugs rather than putting their potential towards something productive. Many family members and friends I know put their skills in music, photography and even making handmade soap bars. For those who don’t have the know-how to be doctors and lawyers, or the physical skill of athletes or technical prowess of scientists and engineers, art may be their only other outlet. And there’s a lot of people out there who need the chance to shine.

Art is Everywhere

It’s not as simple as saying, “Art is cool, but…” because there really is no BUT about it. Nearly everything we touch and interact with is some form of art (or a mix of art and something else entirely). The layout of our homes, our furniture, the cartoons that distract your kids right down to the pretty appearance of your favorite dish is all an art. It takes basic skills such as drawing and understanding the elements and principles of design that makes these things possible. If people continue to downplay that importance we may end up having a lot of ‘things’ and not a whole lot of creativity. Craftsmanship without any content and vice versa. I don’t know about you all, but that’s not the kind of world I want to live in. 

We Won’t Starve

Creatives are evolving to meet with the demands of an unstable view towards the arts. What we do is becoming more integral to everyday needs, and overtime I feel that people will realize that art is more than just fluff and embellishments. It reaches into our psyches and reveals our thoughts and what makes us tick as human beings. So to Mrs. Fallin, I would have to say that Tourism can do fine on it’s own. We need our Arts Council!


Please support OFTA or if you’re out of State support your local non-profits to aim for more funding for arts in the community. Also checkout Crafting Connections, a site dedicated to bonding with your children through neat crafting ideas.

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