Why Art is Dying


A few weeks ago I had a fantastic opportunity.

I was sponsored by the CFC to go to Lean StartUp Machine Toronto, having pitched the idea of saving the arts through digital and social media means. The idea garnered a lot of interest, personal interest, not just on a business level but on a personal level.

I spent the weekend talking with people. Intelligent people, great people, artistic vocal involved people. The people that we as artists have been trying to engage for years. The people we’ve been dying to see in audiences, applauding, appreciating, supporting us. You want to know why young, smart, artistic adults aren’t interested in your art?

It’s because you’ve been a pompous jack ass.

It’s because you haven’t invited them in.

You haven’t made them feel welcome.

You’ve bullied and belittled and humiliated them for not understanding you.

You’ve waved the flag of culture and told them that they just aren’t smart enough.

You threw your expertise and your knowledge and your years of training and blood, sweat and tears in their faces.

You stood on your soap box and told them that you were better than them and they should revere you.

And they gave you the finger and walked the other way.

They turned to the internet and video games and YouTube, they turned to the art that made them the hero, that lifted them up, that gave them power, instead of pushing them down.

And now here we sit, artists and administrators, producers and performers, losing, barely keeping ourselves afloat and wondering why no one worships us for our brilliance. We’ve dug ourselves this hole, and we’ve alienated others from us, we’ve become our own little club, entertaining ourselves, and wallowing in our own pain. The amount of art created as a way of venting about the state of art is appalling.

Art used to be the voice of the people. We’ve forgotten that. We’ve taken it and used it to broadcast our own voices, our own stories, our own pain. We’ve forgotten our position. Our purpose.

We are story tellers. We are the messengers. We are vessels. Conduits. We are the connection.

We are not the story.

What do we need to do to ‘save art’? Pull our heads out of our asses and stop wallowing.

Art Challenge:

This week, talk to someone you don’t know. Ask them their story. Empathize. Feel it. Go home and experiment with retelling it, however you do that. Monologue, song, photos, painting. Don’t make it about you. Just try. Be selfless.

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4 Replies to “Why Art is Dying”

  1. I came across this post because I was following your response to David Ferry, and all I have to say is – Amen. Too much ego and not enough humility equals art that’s not worth my time or money.

  2. so, hi. what IS your story? how do you combine your love of fitness with your love and passion for the arts?

  3. I couldn’t agree more. Too many artists are actually just looking for attention, instead of giving the attention to a story. It drives me crazy.

  4. Good question. I’d say dance is probably the linking factor. I went to an acting/singing/dancing school and when I graduated I figured I needed to join a gym since I wouldn’t be forced into 7 dance classes a week any more. Then when I started doing film I wanted to change the way I looked on camera, so I started learning more and more about fitness. Eventually I realized that I was coaching my friends on stuff and I might as well start getting paid for all the time and research I was doing. Now I do personal training and health coaching, while keeping up my acting. It beats slinging pasta 🙂 Plus I’ve done my requisite 10 years in a restaurant, my aunt had one when I was growing up!

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