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Essay of the Month


CIVILIZATION NEEDS THE ARTS

by Richard Serpe, Jr.

      Without the arts, civilization wouldn't exist. Societies are judged by the record their members leave behind. The more refined the artistic output, the more superior a civilization is deemed to be.
      Artworks record a society's search for meaning and identity. They reflect the common beliefs and practices of a body of people. At the same time, they give voice to individual yearnings for truth, beauty, justice, and freedom. Without these expressions, a society is both faceless and voiceless undifferentiated from the unrelenting ebb and flow of time and matter.
      Many historians consider ancient Babylonia to be the seat of civilization because it produced Hammurabi's Laws the earliest known record of a formal political system. Without the artisans who actually created that record, however, history might have put the birth of civilization elsewhere.
      You and I can recite far more impressive examples of various civilizations creative outpourings - the Sistine Chapel, Mt. Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, the Taj Mahal - but one startling fact links all these creations together: they exist because a government made it possible for them to exist.
      We enjoy a rich artistic heritage in the United States because the arts are supported by individuals, businesses, and every level of government. No level is more important that the one that is being built right here in Franklin County. With the formation of the All Arts Council of Franklin County, I hope that we will leave as exquisite a record as our predecessors.
      The hard work and dedication of many volunteers have gone into the formation of the AAC. I invite everyone to begin enjoying Franklin County's rich artistic heritage. The AAC was created for all, not just the artistic. I encourage one and all to become involved because whether, you are an artist, a patron, or a concert-goer, the arts need your support.
      Without you and your support, and without the arts, civilization wouldn't exist.

Copyright (c) Richard Serpe, Jr., 1997


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