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Sarah Beck, Fargo, Published December 02 2013

Letter: Arts always the first area to be cut

While in Washington, D.C., recently, I learned that the master of fine arts in creative writing program I graduated from almost two years ago at Minnesota State University Moorhead has been cut.

It’s been very sobering for me to see the sights in D.C. and realize most of them are available to us because of the talent of those in the arts and humanities. The Capitol is essentially a historic office building if not for the sculptors, painters and architects who have made it extraordinary.

The monuments on the mall would not be there without the talents of artists. The Gutenberg Bible in the Library of Congress spurred the power of literacy that pulled humanity out of the Dark Ages. The poignancy of the Holocaust Memorial Museum is magnified in how the evidence of the atrocities are displayed: photographs hung from floor to ceiling, a display of thousands of victims’ discarded shoes piled on top of each other, much like the bodies would have been.

A few lines from poets can be so chilling you will never forget them. The arts and humanities are so powerful because they speak to every individual in some way and stir something in our souls in a way nothing else could.

The arts are powerful. Leaders of countries know this. They cultivate it or destroy it because they know the influential power of it. It’s so disheartening to me that in our education system, at every level, it is the first thing to be cut.