Support for arts should not be eliminated from Enumclaw’s budget

Art is my life - both visual arts and other genres.

Editor’s note: the following letter was directed to Enumclaw Mayor Jan Molinaro and forwarded to the Courier-Herald for publication.

I am very concerned about what I understand to be a discontinuation of funding for the arts in the city budget. I would like to present my feelings and opinions on the matter.

I am told that Enumclaw has supported the arts for 35 years now. I have been a resident of this wonderful city since moving west 24 years ago. As a professional graphic artist and lover of art, I was so very excited to find the arts community here alive and flourishing. I worked at the Courier-Herald for 16 years in the graphics department and enjoyed knowing first-hand what events in the arts where coming up as well as learning about the foundations of art in our community. I eventually joined the board of Arts Alive! and now have served a few years on the Arts Commission, being the chair for the last two years.

Art is my life – both visual arts and other genres. We enjoyed the Evenings on the Plateau when we first settled here, bringing our autistic daughter with us. Music was, and still is, a huge part of her life helping her to cope with everyday ups and downs. We were very disappointed to see those performances disappear, though I do try to understand the need to do so.

Art is, I believe, the fundamental way for us to express the impact that life has on us. I paint for my own pleasure, but also to bring my perspective of the world to others. It brings joy to the human spirit to see a beautiful image or to hear wonderful music. It is vital for society to have these things around them in good times as well as trying times. It soothes the soul and makes life more bearable.

I know you are saying – “but publicly funded?” A resounding “yes” from me. Give our citizens joy and opportunities to expand their world. Help people to grow and thrive in our community. For many artists and musicians this is their work. We support local businesses by patronizing them and without the city infrastructure of safe streets, utilities the city provides for lights, education for children or the protection of our police we may as well be another lost civilization. And even those lost civilizations had art.

It is not a lot of money in the whole scheme of things to fund the arts, but I know it does trickle down to the almighty dollar. Gary LaTurner works hard to acquire funding from other sources to provide the few events we host as the Arts Commission of the city of Enumclaw. Great cities of the world have the arts included in their budgets and it is very evident when you visit them. To me it all comes down to making a city like ours more livable, human and distinctive.

Anne Crandall, chair

Enumclaw Arts Commission

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