ELIZABETH ALEXANDER: I do not think that the arts are dependent on philanthropic efforts,
which might sound to be at odds with what I do for a living
but I think that what is remarkable about
the arts is that you cannot kill them.
They will not die.
I think of this particularly with the art form
that I come out of, poetry.
It actually is beautifully partnered
by various social media
because it can travel and be sent out
in a way that fiction is a little bit trickier
because fiction is a longer form.
It simply takes longer to take it in.
Poems on Instagram, on Twitter, there’s a way that poems can move
and social media is a great companion for that.
Poetry costs nothing.
It is barely remunerated,
and for thousands of years poetry has told us
who people are, who civilizations are, who communities and tribes are.
人 文明 社区和部落是什么
So I think that’s part of what is kind of astonishing about
the power of art is its durability.
I think though that what philanthropy can do is encourage and enable
and especially with other kinds of art forms
that do have some costs involved.
So if you think, for example, about public art projects.
例如 你想一想 公共艺术项目
Public art projects need cities and zoning
and materials and people to move large objects
so that they can make these public artworks.
That is something that I think
philanthropy can do remarkable things about.
Measuring success in the arts is sometimes a tricky business
because the influence and impact of the arts is
sometimes felt in the immediate, right.
So when you behold a great work of art,
when you finish reading an extraordinary book,
when you listen to a stirring piece of music,
you have an immediate feeling.
But then there is another question that is sometimes longer term
and much more difficult to measure about why that matters,
about how it makes its way through the world,
about how it finds its durability.
So I think that what I want to work on with my colleagues is thinking about,
因此 我认为 我想与同事共同致力于的是
is there a specialized way of thinking about impact with regard to the arts
that again measures it on its own terms?
There are some really interesting studies that,
for example, look at economic development in neighborhoods that have a presence of artists
who are working to make their own dynamic presence felt in their neighborhoods
and that’s actually good for economic development.
So that might be one way we could think about it.
But I don’t want that to be the only way that we think about it
because to me it comes down to the very simple question:
Would you like us to live without art?
And I think that when we understand that
we would all be bereft without art and culture
the question then becomes,
how can we find not only the best but also the best that,
again I’m thinking very much about which voices have not been heard as much?
Which voices have not been supported as much
and which voices help us understand the complexity of our humanity
speaking specifically, you know our work is global
but speaking particularly in the American context.
What is the American story,
and how do we listen to its many aspects?