Art and culture: Society Strength

Two common elements can be identified from the various statements issued by governments, public institutions, museum’s directors, art critics and professors: culture as an essential element for society and the need to encourage the study and the diffusion of art in order to promote it.

Paul Gladston, professor at University of New South Wales , said: “We are facing the last days of art and culture as we know it and that is the beginning of a new vision”. In this sense, art critic Jerry Saltz emphasizes: “Until now all the world of art had become hyperactive, excessively heavy and with an obscene amount of money, concentrating in a few hands”.

The health crisis has taken an unexpected turn to the way we “use” art and culture. Culture has become the engine of the society during the pandemic.

France 24 announced: “There is no day that a work of art or concert has accompanied us in quarantine and the culture in general has been weapon of great efficacy to give us strength”. On March 31 the ICOM published: “Today more than ever it becomes evident of how important culture and creativity are for our society, contributing to the mental health”. In the same approach is also interesting the study: Museum and Art therapy: promoting wellness in older adult by Brooke Rosenblatt published by the US Government.

If we go a little further, the Human Rights Declaration in 1948 already foresaw that “everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits”.

And so we could mention numerous statements that consider art and culture as a social good.

On the other hand, the museum’s temporary closure and the suspension of international loans between institutions make us rethink many of the elements that until now prevailed. Research study and investigation are the two elements that can guide us to define the new approach of art and culture consumption.

Research and study are key elements to provide content to the museum’s web pages, which have become notorious during the lock down. Thanks to this media support, some organizations are adapting well to the new circumstances, approaching to new public that has developed an interest for art and culture due to the current situation.

Some museums have developed the basic tools addressed to approach the public in times of confinement. For example, providing deeper studies of their collection, posting conferences regarding an artist, among other initiatives. The strategic plans to attract the public used in some American Museums are reflected in my PhD thesis: Museums of Modern Art. Approaches to Adult Audiences, which can be consulted on Google Academics. The study of these techniques is becoming more relevant in order to discover how to reach the public effectively now that museums are facing new and previously unsuspected challenges, such as their temporary closure or the suspension of international loans between institutions.

All in all, the current circumstances have proven, on one side,  that art and culture are becoming more relevant to our daily lives in times of confinement and, on the other, that they need the proper protection. In this regard, the study, the research and the museums efforts to reach more public are essential to protect art and culture as pillars of our society.