(Thanks to Richard Chapman for the heads up on this article. I rarely find myself in the Science section of the paper. Shame on me! Just proves that art isn’t relegated to the Arts section. Image (c) Richard Chapman, Bole, Ross Creek Cedars, Western Montana.)
A recent article in The New York Times discussed a symposium at the University of Michigan that tackled the evolutionary value of art. While artists (you?) might like to think of themselves as lone geniuses shut away in their studios, one of the presenters reminds us that art brings people together. Here are a couple of notable quotes from columnist Natalie Angier, who is relating the findings of presenter Ellen Dissanayake:
- "The making of art consumes enormous amounts of time and resources, she observed, an extravagance you wouldn’t expect of an evolutionary afterthought. Art also gives us pleasure, she said, and activities that feel good tend to be those that evolution deems too important to leave to chance."
- "Through singing, dancing, painting, telling fables of neurotic mobsters who visit psychiatrists, and otherwise engaging in what Ms. Dissanayake calls “artifying,” people can be quickly and ebulliently drawn together, and even strangers persuaded to treat one another as kin. Through the harmonic magic of art, the relative weakness of the individual can be traded up for the strength of the hive, cohered into a social unit ready to take on the world."
What do you think? What role does art have in bringing people together? And do you see that as part of the goal of your art? If not, why not?