Value of the arts goes well beyond the economic

It's good to read that the arts in southeastern Connecticut have a positive impact. But I hope that we do not judge the value and importance of the arts based solely on whether they result in positive economic outcomes. All artistic endeavors and "products" (the visual arts, theatre, music, dance, the written word, film, etc.), have intrinsic value and significance for their creators and the public at large, apart from whether they contribute financially to the economy.

I'm not denying that it is a good thing that the arts contribute to a region's economic health. But we must remember that the arts (on all levels and in all venues, particularly in our schools) have an enormous value and purpose having nothing to do with whether they add to a region's economic bottom line. Not everything can or should be judged by economic metrics.

While more difficult to measure objectively and accurately, let's not lose sight of the arts' ability to inspire, amuse, shock, enlighten, amaze, make us think and otherwise contribute mightily to our existence. The arts' value cannot and must not be evaluated by dollar and cents alone. If we make decisions about the value of the arts by measuring their economic outcomes and nothing else, we will all be poorer in the long run. 

Frank T. Francisconi Jr.

New London

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