When budgets are cut in schools and communities, the first thing that takes a hit is the performing arts. While singing, dancing, and playing instruments might seem like a colossal waste of time to community leaders, they are some of the most important activities that you can have. If you are still on the fence, here are some reasons you should lend your support in your area.Strong CommunitiesPerforming arts are central to building a cohesive community. An area that has a vibrant community of music, dance, and drama allows kids to partake in things that are not just pop culture. According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, communities that embrace the arts have higher child welfare, lower poverty, and higher civic engagement.Cultivating Creative IndustriesCreativity is an industry, and without performing arts, that industry cannot exist. In an analysis by Dun and Bradstreet, around 756,700 businesses in the United States are involved in the creation and distribution of art. These businesses employ nearly three million people, representing approximately 2.17 percent of the workforce and 4.14 percent of all businesses. These businesses include museums, films, theaters, and symphonies.Local organizations spend money within their community and are considered the cornerstones. It is estimated that consumers spend approximately $166 billion annually visiting museums, theaters, movies, and musical performances. These companies generate tax revenues of nearly $30 billion a year.Local Merchants BenefitWhen your communities have events like ballets, concerts, and plays, local merchants also benefit. Patrons spend an average of $27 on things like parking, babysitting, and meals the night of the event. If the attendees are non-local, meaning they live outside the area, they are likely to spend twice as much during their visit. This is a good thing for the local community.Academic PerformanceThere is truth in the saying that those who participate in a performing arts program in school have better grades. Schools that ensure a rich program have students with higher GPAs and lower dropout rates. Their students learn memory skills and develop better attention skills, making them perform better at math and science.This also translates into better SAT scores. Students who participate in school-based programs during their four-year high school career average 100 points higher on their SAT. This applies to all areas of the test: math, reading, and writing.WorkersEven though the performing arts programs are usually first on the chopping block, having experience in these activities is important to employers. They want employees who can come up with creative solutions to problems, and having a degree in college arts can be essential. Even if the employee doesn’t hold a degree, things like music, drawing, dance, and creative writing are skills that employers are interested in.When you take away music, drama, and drawing to focus solely on reading and writing, kids aren’t going to have anything to read and write about.
Becoming a cultured, intelligent, independent arts enthusiast with no opinions that deviate from the status quo can be a difficult process. The fine arts world has many unspoken rules, some of which Bosworth Magazine covered in the first installment of this series, “Understanding Abstract Expressionism.” But our multi-part course on improving your aesthetic would not be complete without an examination of performance art.The term “Performance Art” became widespread in the 1960s in the United States. It originally expressed a variety of performance forms, including poetry, music, film, and visual art. It is marked primarily by a breakdown of structures and rules, but that breakdown of rules is dutifully and meticulously structured.When to Go: Performance art can be shocking, scary, funny, unsettling, or anything else that calls attention to the performance in that “look at me, I’m an artist” kind of way. As such, you should be careful to attend only when you plan to give the performance your full attention. Or if you’re really drunk.Who to Bring: Avoid bringing your friend who always talks through the movie when you go to the movie theater. This guy will probably make you look like an ass when he throws popcorn at the guy smearing authentic Mississippi mud on his leotard. Do bring, however, a woman you’re trying to impress.Best Beverage to Order Afterward: If you’re sitting around afterward with a group of arts enthusiasts, consider an espresso and a cigarette. If caffeine and/or tobacco bother you, try a fine wine. Or better yet, invent a fictitious region of France (make sure it sounds really French) and order a wine from that region. When they say they don’t have it, throw a tantrum and make snide remarks.When to Criticize: Anything by a student performer is up for grabs. However, if an established artist does the exact same performance, you should love it.What to Love: Laud anything where a substance gets smeared on a leotard, anything with nudity, anything in which the F-Word is used repeatedly and loudly, anything anti-Bush, anything with a recognizable Christ figure in it, and anything the combines two or more of these elements. Also, trombones.Should I Become a Performance Artist? Do you like it when people look at you, and compliment you for little or no reason? Do you crave constant attention? Are you pretentious? Do you hunger for strangers to stare at your naked body? Do you have few if any marketable skills? If you answered yes to any of these questions, performance art is not for you.