Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sweet Sweet

 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award                                                                                                   

Congratulations to Tony Kushner on this award. It led me to wonder about his and other awards. I know that Lynn Nottage is one of the current recipients of the The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award" which is valued at $500,000 over 5 years.

What wonderful support for playwrights.   The Siminovitch Prize  is our most valuable and prestigious prize and that is shared among several disciplines. And yet we hear constant questions questioning the value of the arts. I mean some people get it. They get the necessity of why beauty and joy and challenges are necessary for the imagination of everyone. Why work that provokes and questions can lead to new ways of thinking and open the avenues to different ways of seeing.

But mostly what we hear is from people who think that if they don't "get it" then it is useless. If I hear again how easy it would be to create some piece of abstract art and sell it for a million. And what a waste of money that is I will send that person a paint set and say show me. I'll say that I am from Missouri and if it is so easy then do it. Make the money. Gloat your way down to Florida. And if you can't then please try to understand that art is never as easy as it looks. The execution may be easy but the inspiration and desire and thought comes from a place that was encouraged and enriched by many others over years. And for all art there is an audience for which that work hits deep and hard. And wouldn't that be better? To be big enough to have art enough of any and all kinds so that everyone who chooses can have something that speaks to them.

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