Laine Cunningham

Art and Artist Manifesto

1. Art—visual, literary, performance, digital and etc.—has the ability to change perspectives, people, societies and lives, and should be treated with the deep respect it deserves. 


2. Artists, as the creators of something that has the power to change perspectives, people, societies and lives, should be honored for the sacrifices they make on behalf of those people and their perspectives, their societies, and their lives.


3. All countries should follow the examples of Denmark and Sweden and provide annual stipends equivalent to a living wage to support artists in the pursuit of the skills and abilities needed to craft quality work. 


4. Art is empowering, passionate and fun, and a full range of courses should be offered in every public school as part of the academic curriculum.


5. Art is food for the mind, the heart, and the soul, and every citizen should have access to the arts so that their hearts and minds and souls might not whither.

6. The creation of art takes time and effort and skill, so no artist should ever be expected to work for free.

7. Art fuels and is fueled by a society that values what is humane and compassionate and loving and magnificent in the human, creating an upward spiral of interchange and exchange in a humane and compassionate and loving and magnificent world.

8. Art is meditation.

9. Art is beauty, and beauty is found in the sacred and the secular, in the divine and the mundane.

10. Art is intrinsic to that which we are; therefore, we are art.

11. It would be fine, really, really fine, if certain artists (you know who you are) would commit themselves to getting up off their butts for six hours a week and actually create art rather than talk about how much they want to make art but their jobs, their lovers or their hamsters stand in the way.

12. Art requires thinking and developing and conceptualizing and visionary processes that require space and solitude and freedom in which to engage.

13. Art requires staid, steady work and volcanically explosive inspiration and loud, messy creative fugues that require the stability of a dedicated space in which to act.

14. Creating art is an act of kindness and devotion and true love.

15. Engaging with art is a conscious act that leads the audience into the creative fugue.

16. Art can be taken up at any point in life. It requires no expertise to begin.

17. Art can move audiences of any age. It requires no foreknowledge to achieve its resonance.

18. Art and artists depend on the efforts of administrators, donors, nonprofits, governments, and citizens to build and manage and maintain the infrastructures of the society that it enhances.

19. Art is a career choice that is as critical to the GDP as the STEM, service, and manufacturing industries.

20. Leave Elena Ferrante alone. Perhaps she stayed anonymous to preserve her ability to just write or to advance the buzz around her work or to boost sales of the works under her real name when she was inevitably revealed but women have enough problems with bias and prejudice in the arts world so just read her books, enjoy them or not, but leave Elena Ferrante alone. 


###