A Case Statement from GIA’s Support for Individual
Artists Group Steering Committee, October 2011
Our commitment to supporting individual artists is a testament to our understanding of the importance of artists in our world. We support artists to allow them time to reveal the truths of our existence. We support artists to promote diverse, creative communities engaged in civil dialogue and public service. We support artists to ensure the freedom of their expression and the preservation of our own.
Though artists’ impressive impact on the economy is quantifiable and therefore commonly used in their defense against threats of budget cuts and the whims of prevailing tastes, it is their constructive influence on the social development of communities, states, and nations that represents their most valuable and lasting contribution. The generative power of art accosts our senses and demands our attention. It forces us to ask questions of ourselves and engage others in dialogue, changing our perspective and connecting us to the reality outside ourselves. It is for this powerful and enduring contribution that we remain forever indebted to artists.
If artists are to provide their services for the improvement of our economy and society, they must be afforded the freedom to think, work, and act in accordance with their creative insights. The most reasonable means of providing for this freedom is through assistance administered directly and indirectly to individual artists. Professional development programs and internships give artists the tools necessary to shape their own sustainable, artistic careers. Creative seminars, travel grants, and residencies help artists engage and interact with new communities, fostering dialogue with and within a broader public. Fellowships, grants, and awards afford artists the most valuable resource for their work: the opportunity to realize their projects and take the risks essential to great art.
Direct support for artists has a clear and measurable impact not only on the individuals it supports, but on the broader public as well. From improving civic life to rejuvenating the bonds of our communities, the contributions of individual artists stimulate communication and encourage cultural exchange. The value of continually refining our virtue, a value found at the core of artistic expression, is central to our notion of humanity; we are a society of individuals constantly challenging the status quo in pursuit of a more perfect world.
Investing in the future of individual artists is not only investing in an isolated individual; instead, by supporting artists we directly empower our communities, economies, and cultures. Few investments provide such diverse and valuable returns and none is as vital to our cultural heritage and public life.