Smithsonian curator defends arts as essential to democracy

More Info
By Saturday, Apr 8 Letters  1 Comment

To the Editor:

Chosen as this year’s Herb Alpert scholarly honoree at Berklee College of Music, my friend, John Hasse, the distinguished and long-serving curator, educator, and presenter of jazz and American music at the Smithsonian Institution, gave more than the two inspiring presentations that I attended:

Last evening, when, supported by a fabulous cast of Berklee faculty and student singers and instrumentalists, he chaired an informative, and toe-tapping lecture-concert on the legacies of Ella Fitzgerald and John “Dizzy” Gillespie.

This afternoon, when he gave a daring, arching, and comprehensive examination of the salutary and urgently-needed contributions of the creative arts to our personal and social worlds, drawing from contemporary brain science, developmental psychology, the personal and social bedrocks of a civil society, the history and folly of war, the American civil rights movement, studies that document the yield of arts exposures to schools, the workplace, and the economy, and most engagingly, the compelling life stories of his most revered paragons of inspiration.

This was as convincing an argument as I’ve heard to preserve national arts funding, the more so because of John’s emphasizing the positive and avoiding both didacticism and politics.
Bravo and thank you!

Eli Newberger


Return Home

One Comment   Add Comment

  1. Rachel I Branch says:

    Thank you!

What's your opinion?

We welcome your comments and appreciate your respect for others. We kindly ask you to keep your comments as civil and focused as possible. If this is your first time leaving a comment on our website we will send you an email confirmation to validate your identity.

LEONARD QUART: Taking solace in the daily

Wednesday, Aug 16 - There also seems to be no point railing against the daily dose of lies and exaggerations from our Blusterer-in Chief, for his base cares little or nothing about his character. 

ORANGE ALERT: The (almost) daily outrage

Sunday, Aug 13 - Trump made no mention that the violence in Charlottesville was initiated by white supremacists brandishing anti-Semitic placards, Confederate battle flags, torches and a few Trump campaign signs.