Imagine you wake up one day and want to turn on some music – but music has disappeared. No theatres or cinemas play. Galleries, museums, and libraries are closed. Architecture has vanished, and even your favourite design pieces are nowhere to be found. Everything has gone silent and empty. The world has lost art.
What sort of world would it be?
With these words, Association Divadelná Nitra launched the ‘Day With(out) Art’ in 2014. Its aim was to draw general attention to the existential straits in which the festival was plunged by a sharp decline in public funding. Instead of a regular artistic programme, the final festival day was dedicated to open-air activist meetings with audiences and discussions on the question ‘Why art?’.
Today, these words sound almost prescient. All around the world, the Muses have gone silent or moved from the physical to the virtual world. And viral marketing has become an actual reality.
And so we celebrate World Art Day without direct contact with art, just as we celebrated World Theatre Day outside theatres, World Teacher Day without teachers, or Easter without going to church.
We watch brilliant opera productions on our TV screens, indulge in virtual walkthroughs through galleries, and attend zoom concerts broadcast by musicians performing out of their homes.
It’s not just that people cannot live without art – neither can artists live without their audiences.
Confined in involuntary isolation, we have got enough time to ponder what art means to us, how it enriches us, and what the world would be like without it. And those responsible for sustaining the conditions to foster art and culture will hopefully realise just how important art is for society, its moral integrity and identity, as well as the future of civilisation at large.
Let us, therefore, wish together: may art and all its creators survive these difficult times in good health, so that they may return reborn to those who vitally need them, though they may not be aware of it.
If you want to find out what art is good for, many famous personalities will tell you at: http://nacoumenie.sk/