“Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts: the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the other two, but of these three, the only trustworthy one is the last.” – John Ruskin

 
While just having a break from extremely pretentious essay writing about aesthetic appreciation, I decided to deviate from my usual immediate browsing of facebook over my cup of tea and had a look over the guardian website’s art news. Something that triggered my thoughts yesterday from thinking about the 3,000 words I need to write to more general musings about art was an unexpectedly long and interesting conversation with our handyman who came round to do the monthly check-up on our house. We ended up talking about our views on the negative experiences of our artistic educations, the importance of art in society (something I’m particularly passionate about) and general capitalistic failings. It’s fascinating discovering people’s passions, thoughts and dreams.
 
The peek I just had at the Guardian website, particularly the Culture Cuts Blog, really reinforced to me the way that art is undervalued in our society – tuition fees rocketing and giving value to degrees which have more earning potential (ie. not arts degrees), 100% cuts on arts funding in some areas, and library closures, which is a particularly hot issue in my home county of Gloucestershire at the moment.
 
So I just decided to post a couple of links to it all. My friend Chloe has been particularly tirelessly campaigning against the closure of many of our local library services, and it has been an interesting ride with council cover-ups and massive cuts.
 
This week alone has repeatedly reminded me how necessary art is to our daily lives. Apart from the fact that I for one don’t feel fulfilled when regarding the lengthy list of essays-to-write on my blackboard and am desperate to continue my art project, a comment made to me this week really brought home everything I believe in. Less than a week after the fun and messy chocolate workshop, a friend going through some difficulties said that the only time in a long period that they felt truly released from their anxieties and sadness was while they attended the chocolate workshop. This fills me with hope and belief about my own dreams about using the arts to make a difference in people’s lives. The chocolate workshop, both last year and this year and the small ones I have run in between, have provided an atmosphere where people can really lose themselves in something, achieve something, and express themselves in a creative but safe environment. So many people have told me of experiences where they or others could not cope without their art classes to escape from a messy and complex life and society, to express themselves and awaken some hope and inspiration. On a day-to-day basis, this is why I find solace in cooking.
 
We all need some inspiration in our lives. And I personally don’t believe that money alone can provide this.

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