Why Art Matters

Why Art Matters…

Here at Piedmont Arts, we intrinsically know the value of the arts. When a little girl comes in with her father and says at one of our Family Days, “I’m so excited! My daddy and I love art!”, it makes us smile. When members of our Teen Arts Council from all the high schools get together and find that commonality…a love for the arts…it is so powerful! We overhear conversations in the galleries, as people from all walks of life visit, take in the art exhibited and discuss their viewpoints about what their seeing. And we love the smiles on audience members faces when they come out of a Roanoke Symphony Holiday Pops concert or other live performance.

Art can evoke emotion, spark conversation, enlighten us about cultures different from ours and create a sense of place in our community. This month, Piedmont Arts kicks off its 2015-2016 Annual Giving Campaign with the theme "Art Matters." We chose this theme to coincide with the National Endowment for the Arts focus on Why Art Matters. The NEA recently asked some of their staff to express why art matters to them. Here are a few of their answers:

“The arts matter because I learn something about people and places I would have never known otherwise. The arts make my brain and my heart stretch to make room for newness. Sometimes, parts of me are displaced and replaced by wiser stuff. And that’s a fine thing.” – Victoria Hutter

“Art matters because it illustrates the human experience—the wonder of it, the bewilderment of it, the whimsy of it, and so much more. We would not be connected so deeply without the existence of art.” – Kathleen Dinsmore

“The arts matter because they give us a mutual space where we can talk to one another about the most important things to us. It can turn strangers into old friends with lots in common.” – Maryrose Flanigan

“The arts matter because without them our strong emotions, our vital voices, our move-to-the-groove energy and necessary empathy and life-affirming connectedness and tendency toward complexity might all wither from disuse, maybe even destroy us through misuse. The arts matter because with them, we matter.” – Amy Stolls

And here are a few from the staff here at Piedmont Arts:

“Art is a language that all people speak, that cuts across racial, cultural, social, educational and economic barriers and enhance cultural appreciation and awareness. It brings people together, gives joy, inspires and makes one think. All great communities deserve great art!”—Heidi Pinkston, Director of Exhibitions

“With my busy life raising a teenager and working, arts matter because it gives me something to think about that’s not just me or my family. Attending a performance, a lecture or viewing an exhibit at Piedmont Arts, allows me time to learn about something that is not part of my day in and day out routine.”—Pam Allen, Finance Manager

The beauty of art is that it is shaped by not only the artist, but the person viewing or experiencing it. With your help, Piedmont Arts will continue to bring performances, exhibits, educational programming and other events to our community that inspire and engage.

I would love it if you would share with me your thoughts on why Art Matters! Write your comments in the comment section beneath my blog. I look forward to reading your comments and maybe sharing a few!


  1. As a high school art teacher, art matters because it gives a student the chance to open up and express them self in a way they may not be able to elsewhere. Once students realize that creativity lies within everyone, they often surprise themselves with their own "ah-ha moment". They learn to ask themselves the "right questions" when creating. Art has always been there as a source of communication; anywhere from the early humans to present day.
    -Melissa Denning


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