With respect to the question of fine art, I'll say that exposure to the arts during my 2001 trip to Europe greatly enhanced my understanding of history, and the American culture.
During the renaissance, the idea of educating the working class saw its inception and success wholly because of the Catholic church, which at that time was the church until Mr. Luther expressed his opinion that perhaps the commoners might do even better if they could read the scriptures for themselves. This period served to dispense and perpetuate much of the common thread of our ideas about culture, work and general welfare upon which much of our political and social debate now hinges. During my visit to the Vatican, I saw just how much the church invested in education, whatever you think of its bias, when others were concerned only with maintaining a vassal labor force. Education is good.
Expression of culture wasn't just limited to the church by time the fellow that painted this came along. It was catching on big, even if only among the upper and the emerging middle classes.
We saw Richard the Third at the Young Vic in London. There was nothing gay about the experience. The author has greatly affected our current culture and thinking in ways we would recognize every day.
Little remains in our own culture of fine art and many of us stumble through an entire lifetime with blinders on to learning of all kinds. This is not a political statement. The last thing in my memory that resembled a nationwide reflection of fine art was perhaps the Lord of the Rings trilogy made cinema. Of course, most appreciation is lost unless you read the books.
Our son, Tyler was 14 years old when we took him on this trip. We , with permission, took him out of school for a couple of weeks to do so. The impact of that exposure of everything from Auschwitz to Bath educated him in a wide scope of knowledge and understanding that permanently impacted his understanding of life. That scope of knowledge and understanding cannot be experienced or properly conveyed, I dare say, in any of our public schools.
My name is Dave Keys and I approve of this message.