Sidney Harman, Newsweek, and arts patronage

In the NY Times yesterday, there was this interesting piece about Sidney Harman buying Newsweek magazine:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/fashion/15harman.html?_r=1&ref=style

While he’s a businessman, best known for being an audio pioneer – he’s a huge supporter of the arts. He paid for the expansion of the Shakespeare Theater Company into the Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C.

I loved this quote:

“I think it is a sad commentary on much of our culture that most of us think of the arts as decoration,” he said. “They should be seen as intrinsic, mother’s milk. Journalism and theater are two glorious expressions of that perspective. Why the hell should I not be grabbing that opportunity?”

I think this idea that people see the arts as decoration in America is completely true. We see it as the first thing to go when money is tight, especially in the sense of arts education in elementary and high schools.

This is a strange metaphor but,  it’s sort of like when people are super  ridiculously busy and the first thing they cut out of their lives is exercise and gym time. But exercise will end up giving someone the energy to get everything done that they need to. And less stress.

The arts are like mental and emotional sustenance, they’re both our buoy and our anchor.

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