Artists as activists
Q: 'The Hurt Locker,' Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq war movie, won great reviews and the Oscar for best picture but has failed to draw large audiences, joining other 2009 critically acclaimed films such as 'The Messenger.' What are the challenges for artists who try to use their art to lead the public on a divisive political issue?
Bringing entertainment that is valued by the masses is often (but not always) quite different from delivering a message that has societal impact.
Artists who deploy their talent and medium to provoke thinking, dialogue, debate, or change have a special challenge. Their task is to be true to themselves and true to their message and to accept that their work may not have short-term mass appeal or impact. These artists should deliver their heart, soul, values, and integrity with clarity and authenticity.
Their target audience is that evolving or developing "coalition of courageous colleagues" that will step up and confront the brutal facts and be relentless in the pursuit of justice or change firmly grounded in their values.
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