I believe in art because I believe in God. I believe in art because I believe in Beauty. I'm taking an arts marketing course right now at Boston University, and it has my wheels turning. The whole premise of marketing is to "know your customer" and give them what they want; so market research helps you know what demographic you are dealing with, their preferences, spending habits, recreational affinities...and the list goes on. Then there is the idea of drawing "new audiences"--those who wouldn't normally consider your product an interest or need. The question becomes: do you change what you offer to meet the new audience needs, or do you try to convince them that they need what you already offer? In marketing, this is the dilemma between "product-orientation" and "customer-orientation." In dealing with the arts, this dilemma becomes even more sticky, as most of us that work in the arts believe that what we are "selling" is beneficial to everyone, no matter their race, class or demographic. We believe there is inherent goodness in creativity and beauty, and that it shouldn't have to be "sold." But sometimes it does have to be sold. Sometimes that contemporary piece "that looks like something my six year old could draw" doesn't make sense to an untrained eye. Sometimes the story needs to be told by someone who believes in the art, the artist, and the onlooker.
Digging a little deeper, and returning to my first statement: I believe in art because I believe in God. Creativity, for me, is only filled with an inherent goodness when we realize that Beauty is meant to point us back to God. Christ became flesh to point us back to the Father. The wrinkles in his fists, the dirt in his hair, the color of his eyes. We could see, touch and experience him, so that we could see, touch, and experience the Father. Sometimes the art does need to be sold. Jesus may still look like just a man to the untrained eye. The Story still needs to be told by someone who believes in the art, the artist, and the onlooker. We love because He first loved us. We create because he first created.