Letters for August 23, 2001

Art in the eye of the beholder

Re “Arts Coverage: Mindless, Irrelevant” (RN&R Letters, July 26):

I am writing in response and disbelief to the letter written by Jude Gabbard. He stated that to be an artist and to understand art requires as much education and forethought as being a doctor or lawyer. I guess that all of the “uneducated” people who have enjoyed artwork through the ages were fooling themselves.

Is not the value of art defined by the audience? Where one sees a masterpiece, another sees only blotches of color. To criticize the painted bowling pins would justify the criticisms others would have for the art you create, Mr. Gabbard.

The mind can express beauty, emotions and ideas through creativity and through the arts. To squelch a creative idea for the sake of conforming to something learned in school would kill the spirit of the art itself!

Kristen Hagen

Art is even for us simple folk

Re “Arts Coverage: Mindless, Irrelevant” (RN&R Letters, July 26):

I got a laugh out of the letter I read by a “serious artist” claiming the RN&R’s coverage of art is mindless and sophomoric. Some of the best art is created by the unschooled artist. Even cavemen created art. The ability to recognize an idea and be moved by an object of art is part of the beauty of being human, and it’s not confined to those who attend important art schools.

The world is a great art school in itself. Local yokels like myself may not know art, but we know what we like. Without unbiased, unabashed print media coverage of the local art scene, we might miss that bowling pin that stirs up a feeling.

Keep striving to enlighten us simple folk. We see in color, too.

Greg Adams
via e-mail

Gabbard is an elitist snob

Re “Arts Coverage: Mindless, Irrelevant” (RN&R Letters, July 26):

Jude Gabbard writes, “As a serious artist—that means the type with a degree from one of the most important art schools in the world …” Get off it, Jude.

Who says that only a piece of paper on the wall from an “important art school” makes you a serious artist? There have been many thousands/millions of “serious artists"—who put you elitist art snobs to shame—throughout time who never saw a day of organized primary school, let alone a college or university. Vincent Van Gogh (along with many serious artists) never sold a single piece of his work during his life, because no one thought it good enough. There should always be open-mindedness/debate on what is good in the field of art (see Nazi Germany for a bad example).

I work in a setting where VSA arts provides a wonderful service to our residents. It is well-received and enjoyed by all who participate. They may not fit into your view of the qualified, but they gain a life-enriching experience from the ART that VSA provides.

R. L. Matts

VSA arts responds

Re “Arts Coverage: Mindless, Irrelevant” (RN&R Letters, July 26):

Who is an artist, and what is art? Jude Gabbard certainly has a strong opinion on this topic.

VSA arts of Nevada is a non-profit organization providing quality arts programs since 1986 for individuals who are disabled, at-risk, disadvantaged, unserved or underserved by the arts. The Art of Bowling, which was covered by the RN&R, was a fund-raiser for our many programs throughout the state.

If Mr. Gabbard’s parents or grandparents are in a nursing home or extended care facility, VSA arts conducts creative movement and arts programs at 15 of these facilities. If Mr. Gabbard’s child, niece or nephew is ever a patient in Washoe Medical Center’s pediatric care unit, VSA arts is there to conduct art workshops. If Mr. Gabbard, a friend or relative has a disability, VSA arts will be there with workshops at a variety of places. VSA arts provides an extensive training for elementary teachers in special education classrooms to teach the arts across the curriculum. VSA arts conducts arts workshops in more than 50 other classrooms annually.

If Mr. Gabbard or any of your readers would like to learn more about VSA arts of Nevada, please stop by our offices at 135 N. Sierra St., No. C, or call 826-6100.

Thanks to the RN&R for covering VSA arts of Nevada events and other arts and culture events in the area. The arts need more coverage, not less.

Mary Ellen Horan
VSA arts of Nevada executive director