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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JUNE 07, 2012 6:30 AM

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Shortsighted on public art

The Daily Iowan's June 5 editorial proposes to eliminate the public-art program in Iowa for financial reasons, using the words "inappropriate" and "unnecessary" to describe it. The editorial stated that this art program "is one of those areas in which we can go without" at the university.

This narrow, elitist, and ultimately corrosive view contributes to the current wholesale, systematic destruction of art education in our country. This is ironic, given that the University of Iowa pioneered the use of art in university education more than 100 years ago. Iowa is famous around the world for this.

Why? Because art is education. Public art is open-access education. The University of Iowa is all about education and supports open-access education. Art is essential to our university, our state, and the education of our people.

Of course, we have to hold on to our principles, including educational standards, especially when times are tough. The story goes that when Winston Churchill was asked whether arts funding should be cut in favor of the World War II effort, he responded, "Then what are we fighting for?" If we cut the funding of art education at the University of Iowa, what is the University of Iowa for?

Sean O'Harrow
Head, UI Art in State Buildings Committee


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