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The Performing Arts Decline

Updated on September 7, 2014

The Loss Of Performing Arts


The Decline of Performing Arts

The Indirect Effect from the Loss of Performing Art

Art in most eyes is something creative and unique that gives a sense of pleasure to an individual. Sometimes this pleasure may lead to a sense of relief or an opening of a clear mind. This specific pleasure people get from art, but especially from performing arts, might be the medication that many individuals need in life. Think about all these new mental problems individuals are starting to be diagnosed with. Just to name a few; anxiety, depression, or obsessive compulsive disorder are serious dilemmas in many lives and can really hurt people in the long run. This is not a pre-med class or a phycology class, but haven’t you ever wondered why these are strong problems in today’s day and age and not in the past decades? After reading an article online by Bruce E. Levine, “The Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America”, it is easy to realize that mental illness is a very serious problem in the United States. He stated that in 1987, one out of every one-hundred and four Americans had a mental illness. In 2007, that number blew up. Now one out of every seventy-six people in America has a mental illness.

This is no surprise. The world is becoming a place where only materialistic things matter. There are advertisements everywhere; commercials, fashion, surgery, and so many more things that people who lived in the past decades barely cared for or even experienced. Art in the cities are the lights coming from advertisers who try to lure in their consumer through media. The performing arts are slowly being depleted and one day it might be completely eliminated which would indirectly make the country worse off because it will ultimately cause people to be close-minded. The media is starting to veer people in the wrong direction of the amazing qualities of performing arts and it shows through the way people think and act here in America. Critical thinking, philosophizing, and love are things of the past. Now it is all about a task being simple, easy to understand, and having a feeling of power. Watching television hits these three points precisely. While watching television, nothing needs to be explained and the owner is in complete control. If you watch a performing art, the “past” time qualities are highlighted. The point is maybe if Americans concentrated less on the materialistic things in life and focused more on the “down to earth” elements people will have freer minds and ultimately fewer mental illnesses. This is why it is so important for our nation to support fine performing arts and stop making cuts to art programs and organizations around the country.

The Loss of Performing Arts


How the US Government Encourages Lossing the Arts

Not too long ago in 2011 republicans thought it would be a great idea to eliminate the National Endowment of Arts. “Since the NEA was in existence in 1965 to current day, they have supported almost 128,000 projects that total up to a grant sum of over 4 billion dollars.” It is very sad though because every new decade the NEA is in existence their budget is being cut by congress. The NEA seems to always be under scrutiny and it is hard to say it but it is because of the greed coming from the citizens. American citizens always want cheaper taxes and art seems to be the easiest thing for congress to cut out of the equation. It looks like congress believes performing arts has no benefits to anyone and it is just a waste of money to keep supporting. But this is where they are extremely misled. People need to start enjoying the pleasure of performing arts but this is almost impossible when tickets are nearing 300 dollars. Performing arts needs to be more easily available for individuals to experience and generation Y is the most deprived of all. This is why generation Y is experiencing a life of constant worry and anxiety. The next generation will feel an even heavier effect if supported life does not change. People need to start freeing their minds and enjoying the qualities that can come from the performing arts.

Congress does not realize that art can be euphoric and can have an impact on many lives. Think about an artist who is totally content with sitting down while sculpting, creating, or drawing something that is beautiful. Usually, nothing is flowing in an artist’s head except for the thought of beauty and uniqueness. No anxiety, no depression, and no compulsive actions are available for thought. This is exactly what people feel when they are watching a live performance such as a Broadway show. Just sitting there and enjoying what humans are capable of gives a sense of no worries and being relaxed. Imagine if all of America could think this way, instead of thinking about where to place your money or what pair of jeans you should buy. No one realizes how art can actually affect the mind. Instead of advertisements taking up every square inch of our cities, it should be art that fills the streets. Instead of people watching these fake reality shows and commercials for surgery people should be watching a unique work of art such as a Broadway show or a live performance.

It is no wonder why people flock to art festivals around the country and take it in as an experience. When people go to these types of events they get a sense of a free mind and worries become past thoughts. Hearing music from the street corners, watching artists draw beautiful works and a performance constantly going on is a way to escape the crazy American life. The same thing goes for the art available through a Broadway show. No worries or thoughts, just enjoyment for the mind. Think back in history for a second, remember the 1920’s in New York City. Jazz was on the rise, performing arts were taking over the streets, and people were generally happy. Individuals were happy because they were living a life centered on art which brought them closer to the “real” elements of life. Residents were constantly coming into contact with live performing arts and watching what others were capable of doing. This brought enjoyment to them and created a great atmosphere to live in. This is the way of life Americans should have strived for but eventually the tradition was lost. Other countries have not lost this desire to keep the performing arts alive and it shows with the way people look at life.


The United States should act more like Italy, a county where performing arts and beauty is a tradition and happiness is the only mental state that follows. “Italy has supported the fine performing arts throughout their whole history. An example is the history of opera and ballet. Even after the kings and princess of Italy depleted from the country the fine performing arts were still supported.” The United States as a whole loves traveling to Italy and in a recent study Italy was voted by Americans as one of the best places to go on vacation. Beauty and the fine performing arts create a sense of “getting away” to Americans, and in Italy these two things are extremely available. Listen to that phrase Americans have created, “getting away”. This phrase is funny because it sounds like Americans live in a jail operated by mass media and when citizens leave the chaos of this country they are escaping a living hell. Pretty harsh words, but think about it hard and it that is exactly what it sounds like. I doubt other countries such as Italy use the phrase “getting away” when they leave their home land. For U.S. citizens, leaving the country is a way to escape; to other individuals around the world it is probably thought of as a way to experience different cultures. It is crazy because it all relates back to the importance of the performing arts and how it really does affect the way people live their lives. It is not just the performing arts itself that creates this effect on people but it is culture and all the great qualities that come from the fine performing arts. This is one very convincing reason why congress should start supporting the fine performing arts more.

The United States needs to start supporting the fine performing arts more and more every year and that cannot be stressed enough. It is sad that Americans are going in the opposite direction because people love seeing art and the awesome things humans are capable of. Just to give an example, every day when I walk by the murals and paintings downtown of all the great idols that came through Pennsylvania State University, I instantly lose track of all my worries and just enjoy the scenery. Escaping from life for just those few seconds feels amazing, everything gets silent and I enter a state that I barely ever get to experience. This feeling lasts even longer when watching a full performance of art. It doesn’t matter if it is a Broadway show, a concert, or a ballet. A person’s mental state can change and give the effect of standing still in time. Instead of life being a complete maze, life almost feels complete and content.

Life should always be filled with these kinds of feelings. I think people have had enough with the worries of the future. People have to start living in the moment and that is when they will realize how important performing arts are. Living in the moment is a part of that culture that comes with fine performing arts and could potentially be the treatment to stop mental illnesses like anxiety and compulsive disorder. Individuals around this country should have a sense of being content more than just once in their daily lives. The only way this can be achievable is by enjoying the uniqueness and beauty of performing arts. It is so important for the United States to realize this because it will have a heavy effect on the way people go about their lives. Happiness would flow in the streets and anger would be a thing of the past. If this essay was handed to congress it could make them realize what life could be like and what life should be like. People need to start thinking to themselves instead of thinking about what the media wants them to think. Congress should realize that money needs to be poured into performing arts, especially for future generations. For now, it is just an essay for you to enjoy and think about.

Do you think the Performing Arts are diminishing in America?

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