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Reba Williams

SOUNDING BOARD --

March 11, 2001

There is no end to what we can think up for government to do. It could

be endless. However, some things are legitimate for government activity,

and some things are not.

The latest bad idea for local government involvement may be coming

from the Newport Beach Art Commission, a tiny body of three or four

people that wants the Newport Beach taxpayers to assume the teaching of

art, starting, of course, with our children and progressing, of course,

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to anyone they choose.

That leads to the prime question: What's wrong with the commission

putting its enthusiasm, sincerity and support behind legitimate art

instruction in our public schools -- not to mention our colleges and

universities?

We definitely don't need another building behind the central library.

This whole business of government meddling in art becomes questionable

when one realizes that some taxpayers have great difficulty defining what

constitutes art.

The field is filled with controversy. What is beauty? Is beauty art,

and is art beauty? It certainly isn't answered by that oft-quoted and

tiresome phrase, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." That means:

There's no such thing as beauty, a sad state indeed.

We, as Newport Beach taxpayers, should ask ourselves if we are really

dying to involve ourselves in inevitable public controversy developing

from human sensibilities, offense, community divisiveness, even outrage

and censorship, especially when we have lost the ability to even teach

our children to read?

The whole thing is best left to artists themselves, their private

sponsors and, most of all, their customers.

We ask the art commissioners to get this stuff off our plates and put

something there that's more digestible.

o7 * REBA WILLIAMS is a Newport Beach resident.f7

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