As we prepare to take part in elections that will soon be held across the country, I think it’s important to consider the impact of the choices we make on the future of the arts—both public sector and arts education.

Your Vote and the ArtsWhile the presidential election is getting all of the headlines, elected officials at all levels of government help shape our future and the future of the arts. So, how do you know what to look for when you hear speeches and interviews and glance at the vast array of names on a ballot at the polls?

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

My view is that while many candidates might speak of financial support, policy decisions, participation in an arts related activity, or attendance at arts events as a demonstration of arts advocacy, the real evidence of artistic sensibility comes from the characteristics revealed in everyday communication. What does a candidate do or say that reveals awareness and understanding of the arts and the artistic process? Besides what you see live or on television, are there quotes from the past that suggest artistic awareness and sensitivity?

There are many qualities that suggest a person has a deep understanding of the arts and the artistic process, but here are ten that I suggest should be considered as you make decisions over the next few weeks. A person with artistic sensibilities:

  • Is open to criticism and has a sense of humility about their life and work.
  • Values authenticity, integrity, and sincerity.
  • Has the ability to focus.
  • Is playful and values simplicity.
  • Is flexible and has the ability to see different aspects of issues.
  • Has an aptitude for practical problem-solving.
  • Perseveres and is resilient.
  • Focuses on solutions when they make mistakes.
  • Is open and tolerant.
  • Strives for competence and constant improvement.

Read more from the October 2016 Newsletter: Your Vote and the Arts

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