Cultures are remembered for their artists…

Sometimes you read something pithy, an aphorism or a maxim and it sticks in your mind. Other times you come across a piece of wisdom that absolutely nails you and forces you to nod your head in agreement and exhale a resigned breath in admission that you will never ever come up with something so good yourself.

I was editing an article today and one of the quotes from a graduation speech went thus:

“Cultures are remembered for their artists and their warriors, not for their business efficiency. You are the special group – the artists.”

It was attributed to Robert Cohan, the influential modern dance innovator (admittedly not a field that I know much about).

A quick Google failed to find another origin for the quotation, so I assume it’s a straight-up piece of original sagacity, but it really struck home in light of the austere and philistine times in which we live.

It’s a comfort to be reminded though that no one is going to remember the bean-counters, but art will live on despite the efforts of some to base every cultural decision on the bottom line.


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