The Arts Survived, But They Still Need Your Help

ArtsWestchester’s ArtsMobile visited the Armonk Outdoor Art Show this fall. Participants made clay pumpkins during an arts activity led by teaching artist Vicky Youngman (photo credit: Sally Franklin)



In thinking about the uncertainty of the past 20 months, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief that the arts in Westchester have survived. Yes, although we are somewhat battered financially, we are spiritually stronger than ever, undaunted in the knowledge that the value of the arts is not a myth, not a frill, not “just a nice to have,” but an essential element of our life on this planet. 

Several years ago, we asked our friends to “Imagine Westchester Without the Arts.” That truly wasn’t a risk we wanted to take, but then along came COVID-19 and twenty months without the arts in our lives. What a way to learn a lesson!

The arts are indeed essential, not just because they bolster our economy to the tune of $172 million, and not just because they provided 5,200 good-paying jobs for our residents, and not just because they encourage tourism, which is a $2.1 billion industry in Westchester. The arts have a higher purpose, and we didn’t need a pandemic to prove that the arts educate our kids. The arts are important for our well-being, relieving stress and keeping us mentally engaged. The arts bring us joy and record and conserve our collective memory.  No, we didn’t need a pandemic to tell us all that…but since it did, let’s make a resolution to support our artists and arts groups this holiday season and throughout the new year. They need our support like never before.