January 18th, 2021

Arts improve a community

By Submitted Article on March 13, 2020.


This article was previously published in the Fall/Winter 2014 edition of ArtsBridge and written by past AAC president Amanda Berg.

Imagine a community without the arts. It is without murals, without sculpture and without colour. It is without singing, concerts or music. It is without dancing, or acting, or festivals. There are no theatres or galleries or places to draw, paint, write or play. Would you visit? Would you want to stay?

The arts have value, not just in terms of economic value, but also of value defining a community’s identity and of its citizens’ legacy. The arts improve quality of life, affecting all aspects of enterprise and industry, of sport, and the health of its people.

Perhaps at its simplest and broadest form, the arts provide entertainment. Good entertainment affects happiness and improves well-being. Lethbridge has many arts entertainment opportunities from which to choose. From New West Theatre performances to concerts at the Enmax Centre, to drama productions at the University of Lethbridge, box offices across the city are never short of events to promote. There’s excitement when the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra announces their next season or when the concert lineup for Whoop-Up Days is announced.

The arts promote discussion; they allow us to celebrate our cultures, define our place in history, and support progress towards a better future. The arts engage us in meaningful debate, emphasizing and exposing aspects of our society we believe are important. Walking through an exhibit at the Trianon Gallery, at SAAG or The Gallery at Casa allows us to engage with art that may evoke any number of reactions. Ultimately, they inspire greater awareness and may even spark further curiosity.

The arts enhance education. By providing an outlet for creativity, children are more confident, better problem solvers and more effective team players. There is an abundance of arts education opportunities in the city, from the University of Lethbridge Music Conservatory to the Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp, to the dozens of art classes offered at Casa.

The arts also provide an outlet for life-long learning – engaging people of all ages to pick up a paintbrush, an instrument, a script or even a pair of knitting needles. The arts improve the connectedness of a community by teaching and sharing our art with others.

A city that supports its artists understands the impact a thriving arts industry has to improve its overall economic health. Supporting the arts community doesn’t just impact artists; it affects the managers, curators, technicians and educators that support those artists. It also impacts businesses that are either directly or indirectly supported by arts initiatives.

Imagine a community that is improved by the arts. There are murals and sculptures and colour. There are songs, concerts and music. There is dancing and acting and annual festivals. There are theatres, galleries and a place to draw, paint, write and to play. This is a community people want to visit. It’s also a community where people want to stay.

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Seth Anthony

Art is a want, not a need. Furthermore, art is subjective (a personal taste). As such, it should not be funded by those that have no desire for it. If it is wanted, then it should be able to stand on it’s own and be funded only by those that support it.


Great and the taxpayers just paid $40 million for the CASA building and for the Yates refit! The money could have been spent on the third bridge to the Westside and the Highway 3 bridge.
Or that money could have been spent on treatment for the addicts that prevent many from coming downtown to enjoy those venues, such as when one goes to see Shakespeare in the Park, they don’t have to witness the common occurrence of seeing EMS giving chest compressions to an overdose victim, while someone is across town, with a loved one suffering from a heart attack, waiting for EMS to respond because there is a Code Red (no ambulances available) and trained paramedics on fire units are also tied up with overdoses . . . yes the arts are wonderful, but they do nothing to treat addicts that are wreaking havoc in our city!
We were facing major cutbacks before the events of the last week, now we will see even more!
Wake up . . . will the arts feed you . . . will they save you from a heart attack . . . will they get you into surgery faster to save your life . . .will they house you . . . ???
One important thing is that most of the arts can be presented FOR FREE in parks, etc. if the artist really wants to share and is dedicated to the arts, you do not need a big splashy building . . . open air as they did years ago!


Hi. I have a major problem with singing-it doesn’t sound like music at all and I am sure it is because of the rhythm. I am totally out of the beats. I make the rough rhythm of the song and everyone thinks that I am perfect in rhythm but I am not. I can post my song to hear. Any tips to improve?? I go to 15 different music teachers and drummers and no one even notices my timing problems they said stupid things like I don’t put emotions and so on… but my problem is the rhythm.

Leila Armstrong

One could argue that the arts are an extra, unnecessary for our well-being. And yet, having culture is what makes us human. We don’t live to survive at some base level, but to enjoy our friends, families, co-workers. To take pleasure in the beauty we see in the world around us. And to interpret our relationships and surroundings. To critically engage with ideas. To communicate with others. That is what art does: it allows us to explore difficult concepts and show people different ways of seeing. If you don’t think art is necessary, just try cutting it out of your life. No more films, Netflix, recorded music, fabric designs, mugs that feel good in your hands, dancing, friends playing the guitar around the campfire, children singing Christmas carols, Easter egg decorating,… I wouldn’t want a life bereft of the arts. Look at the Italians signing from their windows and balconies during Covid-19 quarantine. That’s art.

Seth Anthony


Given your vast examples of art, one could argue that torture devices are art as they require skill and imagination to create.

Also, note that in the art examples you provided, no one is forced to pay for it if they don’t use it. I suspect you would be irate if you were forced to pay for a movie, a sculpture, a painting, or a mug that you didn’t want.

Leila Armstrong

I support ice rinks and pools, though I use neither. I support paying school taxes, though I have no children. I am however, a little sad to find I live amongst those that begrudge their neighbours the very experiences that enrich our lives. I think it’s really just a lack of consideration for the greater good.