Advocacy: Why Art Matters

Does art matter? Is it important to have a presence of art in our community? And, as a community, what do we have to gain from it?


Art has many intrinsic values-particularity

in relation to our community:


The arts create a sense of community and a sense of place.


This can be done by way of programs open to the public, through public art and art related events (be they an art fair,  a studio tour, public art performances, etc.). Art related events and programs not only bring community members together, but can also improve social cohesion, personal development and sometimes even serve to inform and open up dialogue.


The above video is of the 2010 RRAA Art Rageous Event held at the Inn at Rio Rancho. Proceeds collected from the raffle tickets sold at this event was donated in its entirety to the Rio Rancho Haven House shelter for women.


Art provides a wonderful way to not only share our cultural diversity,

but can also ensure a preservation of our diverse ethnic heritage.

The arts also provide an effective way to engage our youth


Witness Rio Rancho High School art students winning the Vans Shoe design contest (a national competition) not only once, but TWICE! These students were given a creative outlet and ran with it.

The creative arts teach valuable skills such as logic, organizational teamwork, and patience and they incorporate the knowledge that “failure” is a critical element of discovery and learning. Arts-based programs have been shown to be particularly effective in promoting positive youth development. Studies by the National Arts Education Research Center show that integrating the creative arts into all learning experiences enhances academic, social, and personal developmental outcomes (Ross, 1991).


The above video is comprised of the entries that the Rio Rancho High School submitted in the Vans Shoe 2012 Culture Contest (which they then went on to win the National Competition).


The healing power of art


The healing power of art has gone from being intuitive to scientific.

Many hospitals budget $1 to $2 per gross square foot for art in new construction, or up to 1 percent of construction cost, according to industry norms.

“Art isn’t being looked at any more as an added bit of decoration but as an integral part of the healing process,” said Denise Rippinger, founder of Schaumburg-based Health Environment Art Services, a unit of Corporate Artworks. Her firm helped pioneer the corporate and health-care artwork industry almost 20 years ago.

An entire hospital art industry has sprung forth in response as initial studies and surveys indicate hospital artwork can aid market share, staff retention and, most importantly, the healing process. An expertise in hospital art can garner substantial sums. Art budgets can surpass $3 million at newly built hospitals.
Indeed, those within the health-care industry have measured the effects of artwork on blood pressure, heart beats and other responses. Initial evidence suggests patients respond with fewer medications and shorter stays.

Hospitals adopting art and patient-friendly programs report increased patient and staff satisfaction while lowering operating costs and staff turnover, a key problem in the health-care field.

But, beyond these intrinsic values that the arts provide, is this enough to get our governing body and policy makers stand at attention and actively support the arts?

It should.