Art for art's sake is, now that I have begun to consider it, kind of a messed up ideal. Don't you want someone to look at, read, listen or in some way respond to the writing, painting, music or ventriloquism? And it's not like Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ever took a penny for all those movies they made after the lion roared. In Latin.
Hold on a second. They weren't so much about "art for art's sake" after all, were they? They were all about art for the price of a movie ticket for every man, woman and child in the United States. And beyond. Maybe something more like "art for the price of admission?"
I know a lot of people who make art and most of them want to be remunerated for their thoughts and efforts. I myself graduated from college with a degree in Creative Writing. I spent a large chunk of a decade at a university with the suppressed need to write creatively and be handsomely compensated for doing just that.
So here I am, more than thirty years after that fact, creatively writing for the sheer joy of it. And it's not just here. I have written an number of other things I think are pretty creative. I have written some scripts. Maybe a movie or two. And six skits. I was not offered a single penny for any of these creations. The skits were written, directed, and performed by the Dads' Club of my son's elementary school. That meant I had to do revisions, which I almost never do. And I had to deal with the varied temperaments of my fellow dads. Tickets were purchased and money was raised. But not for me. Which turns out to be just fine, because those five minute bouts of silliness were finales of school-wide talent shows that had a target audience of the parents and families of the participants who appeared onstage just prior to the aforementioned silliness. Money was raised. For my son's school. And there was applause. And laughter. Maybe a whoop or two.
This past weekend, I was at my school, installing some art. A group of upper grade students whom I supervise and attempt to come up with some community project and this year we came up with a mosaic. Every student at our school, every staff member and even a few parents decorated a four inch tile. Then on Saturday morning we stood out front of the school and ended up admiring our work, all assembled there on two walls. More than three hundred little bits pieces of art all gathered together. For art's sake. And the kids. And for me.