Up Front 12/08

On 6th December the first Marshwood Vale Magazine Arts Awards exhibition opens at the Bridport Arts Centre. It is the third in a series of awards that this magazine set up in 2006. The first, the Marshwood Vale Food Awards, went a little way towards highlighting some of the people that are helping to build a future for our community in food and farming. The second, the Marshwood Vale Community Awards, in 2007, highlighted some of those that, in a variety of different ways, have contributed to the enhancement of the community in which we live. This year, with our Marshwood Vale Arts Awards, we are trying to highlight a section of the community that, not only contributes hugely to the area’s GDP, but also contributes on many other levels. There has been much debate over the centuries about the value of art and its role in society. Can that value only be measured in monetary terms or are there higher, more sophisticated values that are not easily apparent to most of us? The answer is of course, yes. But for most of us, the value of art is personal and yet strangely incomprehensible. That is part of what makes it so important. Whatever the level at which we appreciate it, art plays a role in all of our lives and if we have any opportunity to interact with it, even by visiting an exhibition or an artist’s open studio, we should embrace that opportunity. Alan Davey, chief executive of the Arts Council said recently that great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. He also said something that’s even easier to relate to; that great art makes life better.