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Defining the Importance of Art in America

Regarding the Opinion page article "A Comprehensive Arts Policy Is Good Politics and Good For America," Aug. 24: I'm glad to read an article that attempts to discuss some problems of a grossly overlooked element of American culture - namely art. Unfortunately, the article addresses only by what means art should be supported, such as financially, technically, and legally. It implies and assumes that the government, foundations, and cities already know why they should support the arts. Why it's good for Am erica is not clear.

America's all-consuming love affair with facts, sciences, and statistics avoids dealing with a missing link - our need to express life in terms of history, metaphor, and symbol.

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Just saying that art "would make this nation much richer" begs the question: Why would it be richer? How can we justify the purpose of art by finding ways to raise money, offering technical and legal assistance, and where to promote it, without knowing how it moves us? Stephen Korbet, Concord, Mass. The Nature Conservancy

I applaud the Monitor for publicizing the valuable work of the Nature Conservancy of Texas in the Habitat page article "Lone Star State Creates Conservation Partnership," Aug. 20. It is particularly timely, since on the same day I received a letter stating that the environmental group "Wise Use" chose to target the Nature Conservancy in a campaign of misinformation and half truths with the ultimate goal "to destroy them."

As shown in the Monitor's article, the aim of the Nature Conservancy is to balance, through cooperation and innovation, the needs of people and nature, so both can thrive.

The Earth could handle man's abusive exploitation when human population was small. But as long as the upward spiral of population growth is out of control, we are participating in a whole new game. Finding new rules and being willing to follow them are vital. Lee MacKinnon, Sparks, Nev.

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