"Art Has Failed to Humanize Our Country"


I recently read A Global Perspective, a fascinating interview in the LA Times with theater director, Peter Sellars, a UCLA professor of arts and culture where he teaches Art as Social Action and Art as Moral Action.

When asked, "You've said that 'art over the past 25 years has failed to humanize the country.' How do think it can accomplish that?"

Sellars offers a fascinating response regarding the humanities, justice, creativity, making powerful transformations in our lives and in this world.

Let's put it positively, because God knows there's enough negativity in the world. The humanities were systematically removed from the menu of most Americans. So the result is you get a less humane civilization, and a society where torture is routine and we're surrounded by every kind of petty and large-scale injustice. And we've all learned not to comment on it, not to make an issue of it, just to keep our heads down and keep moving.  And that's so not American and so looking out for anyone else. And it's deliberately neutering your own personal justice sensors.
And of course the humanities are all about activating your justice sensors and also about the empowerment of not just sitting there but actually realizing we're all on Earth to be creative, to change things, to make powerful transformation in our lives and the world around us. And right now we are in such deep, deep, deep waters, and the only solution are going to be the creative ones. And creativity is the very thing that has been removed from the school system. And that is shocking."

Questions: Do you agree with Sellars? Why or why not? How do the humanities (great works of literature, arts, theater, etc.) humanize us and develop our understanding of justice?