The Value of Arts to Non-Artists

Asking an artist the value of art is like asking a surgeon the value of a scalpel, the politician the value of a vote or a marathoner the value of oxygen.

“Stories are like oxygen, said Amichai Lau-Lavie, founder of a New York Jewish ritual theater company cleverly called Storahtelling. “You can’t see it, but you’d die without it.”

But what about everyone else? It’s as plain as ongoing efforts to cut funding everywhere from schools to the NEA that the arts are not part of all Americans’ daily intake of O2.

Not everyone is like Charles Limb, an ear surgeon, associate professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins Hospital — and self-professed music junkie. Limb is part the emerging scientific field that studies how music can be used for everything from speeding recovery from strokes to improving treatment for hearing loss.

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