The Getty Center in Los Angeles, part 6 — The Arts might have a chance!
The State of California is still broke, which means that the very thing this nation needs most is the thing that gets cut first — Education.
When I graduated from Texas A&M University and moved to Houston in the late 1970s, my home state of Texas announced that it had a $6 billion surplus for the current fiscal year. I was thinking, “Yeah! They are going to refund us some money like Alaska does.” Nope. They just went out and looked for more stuff to spend it on. (Why don’t governments and corporations have savings accounts for rainy
days years? Or endowment funds like colleges and universities have?)
Anyway, Texas succeeded in spending the surplus, and about ten years later, when the Texas oil boom went bust, Texas announced that it was broke. Possibly implementing a state income tax caused an uproar that was not seen again until a black person was elected President of the United States. Property taxes and sales taxes skyrocketed.
My hometown in Texas cut all of the arts programs in its public schools — no painting, no choir, no band, no orchestra. Gone, gone, gone. I do not know if those subjects were ever implemented again when things improved.
With the current situation in California, school budgets are still getting slashed, and the first programs that went were the arts. Many of them are now after-school extracurricular activities. Some teachers are unpaid volunteers from the community. That’s why what I saw at The Getty Center gave me hope for the Arts:
That’s not just some random art student visiting The Getty Center and doing a sketch. See the sketch to his left? That other sketch is not his. It was done by yet another person. Now you’re probably thinking “art class.” Nope.
This area of the Center is The Sketching Gallery. There were four large paintings and a couple of sculptures in the room with several sketching seats like the one the guy in the picture is using. Anyone — even me! — could sit down and sketch. No, I didn’t. Lots of people did. Even more wonderful is the sketch board where budding artists could leave their sketch on display:
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one visualizing a young artist proudly placing his sketch on the sketch board while his equally proud parents take a picture.
I had never seen a Sketching Gallery before but apparently they have a long tradition in the art world. Explained on a mural in the Gallery (see cropped second and third pictures to read the text):
If one has not been to The Sketching Gallery before, a mural on the wall provides instructions:
Although the Gardens were my favorite part of The Getty Center, I think The Sketching Gallery was my favorite experience.
The Arts might have a chance in this world after all!
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