Editorial: The arts community is an important part of island life

Mon, 09/16/2013 - 2:00pm

We received a very nice letter from island artist Sharon Lehman thanking us for the spread we did on the recent art show that closed out the Spring Street Gallery season. (It’s in the letter section here.)

It was not only a pleasure for us to do, but we believe the arts community is an important part of the fabric of island life, and that’s why we try to report on it as we do other aspects of life here.

The products of an artist may seem easy to dismiss, simply because these artworks, in the end, don’t feel essential. A painting or a photograph doesn’t feed or clothe you, nor does it keep you warm in the winter.

But if we take a moment to think about the countless ways in which art enhances our lives, under the broadest definition possible, then we do realize how essential it is. Whether it’s a beautifully turned play in a baseball game, a commercial during the Super Bowl that makes us laugh out loud, a poem that makes us think about something that happened in our own past, or the finished exterior of a new home that strikes us as truly extraordinary, then we realize just how important the creativity and craft of others is to all of us.

The other underlying reason for our attention to the arts community, then, is that it is, no matter what its size, a revenue stream for the island. It’s important for people to express themselves, of course. But its also important for that product to be exposed to a broader community, which will better the chances for an artist to make a living at what they do. This is good for all of us, because awareness of the beautiful things that people create is another great reason for people to visit Block Island.