Summer Camp Series: The Role of the Artist

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From my time at WYA Camp I have learned many things about the human person and their nature. More specifically I have learned about how each person plays a vital role in society. The role I found most people overlook, in my opinion the most important role, of the artist. People often think artists contribute very little to society in terms of tangible things. Sure they offer pieces of canvas with colors on it, and brief visual representations in the form of pictures or film. They also offer sounds that they try to make sound pleasant. If we look at the artist from this shallow way they may not see the huge impact to society they make.

In my opinion artists offer more than anyone else to society. Artists shape a society’s views on life, they change the view of reality that people have. Only artists acting through their work can touch people’s souls quickly and effectively. The world can be changed for a better or worse through one piece of art. It affects society’s view of right and wrong. They decide if money becomes important to society, or caring for your fellow human being is important. Artists don’t control what the beauty is because that is already ever-present, but they can change the social norms.

Understanding the artist’s role in society will also allow society to recognize true art from false art. True art would be considered art culture that artists genuinely expresses what he feels in his soul and allows it to flow through the medium of the art. False art would be art in which the artist is not being true to themselves, and instead looking to others to guide their art. Real artists don’t care what people think.

By Ryan Hodge, an International Summer Camp Participant and WYA North America member.