Funders, it seems, primarily want the non-profits in this country to serve the poorest of the poor, the kids who are forgotten, lost, in need. I absolutely agree. These kids need all of us, to make sure they aren't left behind. Treehouse Shakers gives free tickets every year to these low-income communities. We believe in these kids, in helping these communities. The needs in these areas are endless.
|Mara with Students from Brooklyn Kindergarten Society Post Show|
Out East it is clearer to see and feel the class lines. In the West, in Wyoming, we were all heaped together. Small towns have divisions, ours did in many ways, but we didn't have the same kind of divisions. We didn't have private schools to create a bigger divide between the haves and have nots. Sure if you lived closer to the railroad, you may have had a smaller home, but I don't remember thinking of a divide. Could have been the way I was raised, or it could have been the culture of Wyoming. Everything seemed hard growing up. The cold, the work; most people work in mines, construction, pipe fitting, oil rigging, ranching. Wyomingites, by force of nature, are hard workers, they know, for the most part, how to fix their own cars, their roofs, their dinners, their land. But I am getting off on a dirt road. If the arts hadn't been laid out before me, I am not sure where I would have ended up.
|Mara and Emily in Southwest Wyoming half-way between the towns where we grew up (2000)|
The arts speak beyond our differences. They are for all of us, they keep us alive, connect us, encourage free thinking, and help us to become imaginators. If we leave the middle class behind, who will be the advocates for these kids; the ones whose parents are gone to work, who come back from school to an empty home, who struggle for attention? So should non-profits in the arts also be funded to serve those in the middle class? My vote is a resounding YES! The arts shouldn't have a class divider.