COUNTERPUNCH LETTERS : Traditional Arts Values Help Unite L.A.

While I fully agree with Councilman Joel Wachs’ assessment of arts needs and benefits to the voiceless underclasses of the city (“Urban Lesson: No More Walls,” Feb. 7), I believe we have gone too far in publicly subsidizing ethnic fringe art at the expense of mainstream arts. Many believe that sharing traditionally valued arts with diverse Angelenos does more to break down walls. Arts appreciation also weaves common cultural strands and builds bridges for mutual understanding.

I am convinced that the voiceless voting majority of middle-class Angelenos of all races much prefers cultural events that reinforce American and Judeo-Christian cultural and philosophical roots. Our Constitution, notions of tolerance, democratic institutions and respect for the value and dignity of each person have become necessary ingredients for the crucible of America’s staggering historic productivity and creativity.

Models in literature, drama, visual art, music and dance survive today as mainstream arts curriculum in schools (where taught) and colleges. They also constitute the core of artistic excellence upon which other more limited and transitory expressions are tested. I vigorously object to public funds being spent to uncritically subsidize narrowly based ethnic and racial art expression.

For every youth who is saved from drugs or gangs via athletics, there are dozens to be saved through arts.



President, San Fernando Valley Arts Council

Woodland Hills