An argument for the economy of art

Hi. Please remove me from your mailing list. I am no longer interested in Art and don’t want anything to do with it.

In todays economy, we are spending money on art when it should be spent on supporting people in this time of need.

Please ensure that this is done ASAP.

Thank you

Let me say this first, I am an avid supporter of any cause that purports to take care of others in need.

Those who are keenly interested not only in art, but in the program presented by Art Toronto, can voluntarily sign up for our mailing list. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get on the inside track of some of our programming, and is great for the avid collector of art since it grants unlimited access to the fair. It’s also free.

I’m not of the opinion that Art and ‘people in need’ are mutually exclusive terms. In fact, in many cases they are so closely related as to be synonymous. Few are the number of artists who live lavish lifestyles; few are the number who are not forced to supplement their income from art with jobs ranging from the sublime to the humiliating.

Now rather than go into gory details about the variety of personalities in the art world, this individual has simply demonstrated the demeanor of those whose interest in art is anchored in the financial market: art as commodity. I emplore you, my dear readers, to embrace art as more than that.

Art is not simply wealth. Art is livelihood. Art is community. Art is human nature. Art is passion. Art is necessary.

And the purchase of art is not simply a demonstration of the collector’s buying power. It tips off a chain of events, including but not limited to empowering the artist to pay their rent and purchase more supplies. The act of buying fills museums, a favorite of schools. The act of buying keeps the gears turning in the machine that is the art industry. As a matter of fact, my job, and quite literally hundreds of other people’s jobs, rely on the simple act of buying a piece of art — and not just despite the floundering economy but because of it!

Investing in the arts, as many of my posts of late have pointed to, isn’t just a should do it is a must-do. To be associated, involved, invested in the arts is what author Margaret Atwood calls ‘normal’; it is what the vast majority of us — whether Bay Street broker or downtown East Side hustler — do on a regular basis. To take away from the arts, whether it be abstaining from a multimillion-dollar event, or short-changing arts organizations, is a direct hit against those people in need.

In addition to the hundred esteemed contemporary art galleries who are convening in Toronto from all over the world for Art Toronto 2009, visitors can also meet and interact with dozens of art publications, not-for-profit arts organizations, art schools, and publicly funded museums. There is not simply something for everyone, but also something from everyone.

I’m certainly sorry to see this patron go — not only for the reasons I’ve gone into above, but because it’s a fantastic show that will surprise, inspire and thrill in turns.

Hope to see the rest of you there! Less than a month to go…

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