Does Art Matter? Our Kiva Entrepreneur for September
The slashing of art lessons in schools, brutal cuts to arts funding, the number of creatives asked to work ‘for exposure’ or ‘for the love’ … our society certainly seems to question whether art really matters.
I began pondering the value of art as we made this month’s “loan that changes lives” to Tigran, an Armenian looking for a loan to put on an exhibition in his home town of Vanadzor.
In a country which is classified by the UN as ‘developing’, where around a third of people live below the poverty line, and the cost of everyday items is sky-high, what can the creative industries contribute? How can an art exhibition help, and why should we fund it?
Well, as it turns out, there are enormous economic benefits to a society from the creative industries:
Globally, 29.9 million people work in creative industries - that’s 1% of the world’s active population, more than the combined employees of the US, Japan and Europe’s automotive industry. Tigran’s own sector, visual arts, was the highest employer of the lot, with 6.73 million people involved. (Source: Cultural Times -The First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries)
The Arts Council’s incredibly comprehensive paper ‘The Value of Arts and Culture to People and Society’, reports demonstrable benefits in the health, educational attainment and overall well being of engagement in ‘structured arts’ - such as exhibitions like Tigran’s.
Added to this, there are intrinsic root values and purposes of art- to delight, challenge, provoke, raise awareness and more.
As The Conversation explains, these are difficult to measure in the same monetary terms, but are just as important.
For us, the question isn’t really ‘does art matter’ but “who would want to live in a world without art?”
We certainly wouldn’t.
Artists deserve every encouragement to flourish, and we are delighted to help Tigran on his journey. If you feel similarly inspired, you can contribute and track his progress here.
More about Tigran
Tigran has been painting for almost 15 years. He supports his mother, wife and two small children through his work. His $2,125 loan will help him to fulfil his ambition of putting on an exhibition in his home town of Vanadzor. The loan is administered by Kiva’s field partner in Armenia, SEF International, as part of their project to help borrowers such as artists and furniture-makers who are working in un-formalized industries.