The Value of Art and Culture

The New York Times recently published an article written by Jason Farago, The Arts Are in Crisis. Here’s How Biden Can Help. Below, I’m sharing the first and last paragraphs, as I feel they pertain to ArteSumapaz and our endeavors.

What is art’s function? What does art do for a person, a country?

Scholars, economists, revolutionaries keep debating, but one very good answer has held now for 2,500 years. The function of art, Aristotle told us, is catharsis. You go to the theater, you listen to a symphony, you look at a painting, you watch a ballet. You laugh, you cry. You feel pity, fear. You see in others’ lives a reflection of your own. And the catharsis comes: a cleansing, a clarity, a feeling of relief and understanding that you carry with you out of the theater or the concert hall. Art, music, drama — here is a point worth recalling in a pandemic — are instruments of psychic and social health.


I’ve always been wary of arguments about art’s “necessity.” But a soul-sick nation is not likely to recover if it loses fundamental parts of its humanity. Without actors and dancers and musicians and artists, a society will indeed have lost something necessary — for these citizens, these workers, are the technicians of a social catharsis that cannot come soon enough. A respiratory virus and an insurrection have, in their own ways, taken the country’s breath away. Artists, if they are still with us in the years ahead, can teach us to exhale.

Jason Farago, The Arts Are in Crisis. Here’s How Biden Can Help.

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