More Than Money
Issue #18
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Art and Money

Table of Contents

“Artful Living”

When Christopher and I began this issue of More Than Money, we didn't relate much to its theme; we think of ourselves as educators, organizers, and parents, not artists. But the deeper we got into it, the more we related to the questions presented, and the more our eyes opened to the power and possibility of art in our lives.

We have started to talk with our local arts center about painting a mural on the rear wall of our garage that faces a public area -- perhaps an image that celebrates the town's beautiful pond and recent efforts to clean it up. We are deliberating about how to invest more in beautifying our home, while still conserving resources so we have more to share with others. We joke that our flowering rock garden, in its humble way, is public art that enriches the dozens of people a day who stroll past it.

Most importantly, after enjoying a "comic cabaret" by United for a Fair Economy about the growing disparity of wealth in the United States, we committed ourselves to find ways for the Impact Project (the nonprofit that produces More Than Money) to use creative arts more to express its ideas.

We hope that you, too, will take from this issue a renewed appreciation for how art might enrich not only your life, but the lives of all, and a greater commitment to make that dream a reality. Our world now is far from this; not only is a large portion of humanity struggling for life's necesities, but even in the richest of countries the arts are often viewed as inconsequential and are grievously under-supported.

As people with wealth (artists and non-artists), we can help change this. We can advocate for public funding of art, and support programs that nurture arts programs for those who traditionally have less access to them (not only the "fine arts" but all forms of cultural expression). We can fund and participate in projects that use arts to further positive social change. And, with ingenuity, we can find innumerable ways to support the artists around us, from buying their art to subsidizing their rent to helping start local art centers and institutions.

Art can affirm the kind of world that many of us with wealth seek to help build: a world where all people, not just successful artists and the well-to-do, have abundant clean water, food, shelter, and dignified work and also beauty, creativity, and artistic self-expression. We take inspiration from the famous folk song inspired by a 1912 walkout of women textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, thirty miles from our home.

Our lives shall not be sweated,
from birth until life closes,
Hearts starve as well as bodies,
give us bread but give us roses.

No more the drudge and idler,
ten who toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories
--bread and roses, bread and roses!

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