Today the city of New York threw a parade for the Giants because they won the Super Bowl. I’m sure this thing cost millions of dollars. The Super Bowl and all of the advertising cost more than I care to wrap my little brain around. While I am not against sports, or the fact that mass quantities of people thoroughly enjoy wasting their weekends watching them, I am opposed to the amount of money and coverage they receive. I can’t help but return to a question that regularly haunts my brain, “What if even half of the money and energy spent on sports was spent on arts?”
Sports are on television, the radio, and in advertising constantly, we have mass exposure to them even if we don’t intentionally watch games. As Americans we are almost predisposed to have to like sports or support them in some way because they are so pervasive in our society. While there is definitely a hierarchy of who gets to sit where at stadiums and attend which games, even the poorest of the poor can listen to a radio or catch glimpses of a game through a store window television. Art is sectioned off to the occasional program on public broadcasting channels. If you do not have money it is virtually impossible to have a lot of access to art of any kind. What if every Sunday afternoon there was a dance performance, or theatre piece, or music, or art talk on one of the basic television channels? Would we value and view art differently as a society? Would there be more appreciation, more knowledge of different forms of art?
And let’s boil it down to what everything boils down to…money. If even half, no I take that back, one eighth of the money put into sports was put into arts maybe, just maybe, artists could make real living wages producing their art. Imagine what could potentially come forth if artists weren’t worried about paying their bills, finding space to create their art, finding audiences to appreciate their work, and simply trying to get by while the vast majority of the world overlooks what they do. What if people actually lined up for tickets to see shows they way they line up to get tickets for sports events? I am willing to bet that almost every kid in America has been to at least one ball game, but I am also willing to bet that there is a very large number of kids who have never been taken to any dance, theatre, or orchestral performance. What if kids grew up saying, “I want to be an artist,” knowing that they could be as respected and well paid as professional ballplayers? Imagine that!