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June 24, 2011

To make a difference, “asking” is never enough. People have been asking from the beginning, and on a scale as grand as that of whether or not we should continue funding the arts in South Carolina (or in any state, for that matter) it has never been successful. We ask when the outcome will not affect us either way. One outcome may be desirable over  the other, but in the grand scheme of things we ask when the request really doesn’t matter.

So, if asking will do us no good, what then must we do? Of course, we could always resort to begging. When the situation is desperate enough many of us will naturally resort to begging, and in many cases this method has proven successful. The problem is that begging may win a victory for the beggar, while simultaneously managing to effectively angering the opposing side. You never want to anger the opposing side with something as trivial as begging. So, from an advocate’s point of view, it’s got to be out of the question.

So, what then must we do?

There comes a time in a corrupt world of greed and deceit, when honesty and humility must shine through. In my own personal experiences, I have found that this throws the opponent off. It doesn’t take a grand philosopher to understand that honesty is an increasingly rare trait. Whenever we find it, it stirs us. True honesty (Redundant. No?) is the advocate’s friend.

Maybe it isn’t even honesty we want, as much as it is complete sincerity. Both are equally as rare, at any rate.


Speaking from the point of view of an arts advocate, it is crucial that we let our leaders know WHY the arts are important. I cannot speak from an economic viewpoint. I can hardly speak from a political viewpoint. But I can speak from the viewpoint of a young person who has allowed the arts to change my life, and build me as a human being. I could tell our leaders that without the arts, me and hundreds of other young people would go through our daily lives with a giant hole in our guts, because we have nothing with which to fill it other than less substantial and harmful substances that I need not name. I could tell them my story about how I found our local Community Theatre and by doing so found a community where I felt a sense of belonging and acceptance.

I could tell them that without the arts, I would be half of a person.

To begin to advocate, we must understand WHY we are advocating. We must understand why it all matters. To us, to the community, and ultimately to humanity as a whole. After that, it’s up to us to share that knowledge.

What do you think?



June 22, 2011

A belief is a commitment. In order for one to claim that they believe in a cause, I believe there to be an unwritten contract between that person and said cause. To believe is to be willing to fight for the principles upon which a cause is based. Without a fight, there is no cause. Without a cause, there is no belief. And without belief, we are all lost. Over the past few weeks, I have found myself caught between a rock and a hard place (for lack  more original phrasing). I will openly admit that I am sixteen years of age, and for a lengthy period of time I was hard pressed to find the means by which I could fight for my own cause. I want to fight. I really, honestly do. But for one of my age and perceived intelligence, there prove to be few opportunities in this particular battlefield. Amidst the talk of budgets, elected officials, and a magical elect group of individuals known only as “the legislators”; one such as myself could become lost. It wasn’t until recently that I decided what ought to be done. What CAN be done.

I believe in the arts.

In my recent endeavors I have come to believe that art, like sex, is a basic human instinct. Yes, I admit that I could have come up with a better comparison; but regardless, they both aspire to create. I firmly believe that the artist assumes the role of the  creator. The creative frame of mind is from where discoveries are made, masterpieces are conceived, and goals which lead us to impossible new heights are set. Art holds a mirror to humanity: correcting its faults as well as celebrating its successes. Art is drama. Art is a painting or drawing. Art is music. Art is dance. Art is literature. Art is emotion. Art is pain. Art is joy. Art is reality. Art is fantasy. Art is the past, present, and future of our world.

But that is only what art is in my life. What art is in yours may very well be completely different. And that’s as it should be; but at its most basic level, art is humanity. And it is in danger.

I will be the first to admit that I am not an openly political person. Nor am I politically literate. But I do know that the value of the arts has come into question, and I fail to understand why. I do not believe that there are individuals in this world who have not been touched by art. However, I do believe that there are individuals who have been corrupted by greed. And if greed is not the problem, there is severe misunderstanding.

I don’t know. I really just do not know. Regardless, it is a problem that needs to be addressed.

The Unofficial Arts Defense League is my attempt to announce the importance of art not only in my life, but in the lives of young people everywhere. Demonstrations, photographs, videos, whatever we can do. I don’t know what all is in store for this feeble attempt at a difference. Hopefully, we will become something great. We’ll see. In the meantime, keep an eye out for more information. I have faith in this plan.

My name is Isaac Young, I live in South Carolina, and I am sixteen years old. I attend the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities with a focus in the dramatic arts.  I have been advocating for the arts for one year this month.

I operate this group under this quote-

“The role of art is to make a world which can be inhabited.”

-William Saroyan

I hope for us to accomplish great things.