Arts & Entertainment

Are the Arts “Essential?”

By Jenny Wallace
Arts & Entertainment Editor

If this year of chaos has taught us anything, it’s that there’s such a thing as “essential workers.” This term applies to those who work in places such as grocery stores, hospitals and fast food.  But what about the “non-essential workers?”

We all spent months in quarantine stocking up on toilet paper and eating food, but what else? 

Did you read a book?

Did you watch a movie?

Did you scroll through Instagram?

If you have done any of these things even once, you are relying on a non-essential worker. No one has to write novels. No one has to produce a feature film, and no one has to update social media pages.

We take these little things for granted. While you may think working for Netflix is an unimportant job, who’s staying inside watching it? You are. 

MSU Art Gallery. Photo Cred: Brittney Baldwin

Yes, you need to go to Walmart. Yes, you need to order your McDonald’s breakfast, and yes, if you get sick, you need to go to the hospital. We need all of these things, all of these people.

While some jobs are necessary to maintain a functioning society, just think about what you would do outside of work had someone never written that book, shot that movie or set up that Instagram page. 

The University of Wisconsin-Madison discusses the importance of the arts during a pandemic, as the national shutdown has damaged the economy in businesses such as movie theatres and has forced the country to rely on the arts to entertain themselves during these unprecedented times.

So, while you may not appreciate or understand the arts, you use and rely on them every single day. Next time you hear the term “essential worker,” just remember everyone works a job that is essential in some way.