Boss of Art?

The arts are very powerful. So powerful that dictators fear them and do what they can to control what people see, the stories they hear, their music, even what people wear – everything. They know the arts can change people’s feelings and even make them feel they can make a change in their government. The purpose of this discussion is to help your child recognize the reasons dictators fear artists and the messages they bring.

Definition: A dictatorship is a government or a social situation where one person makes all the rules and decisions without input from anyone else.

  • Why do you think a dictator would want to control the arts?
  • What might happen if people living under a dictator wore a t-shirt that was insulting to the dictator?
  • In free countries we often have protest songs inspiring people to make the world – and their country –  a better place. Do you think it takes courage to write and perform songs that criticize leaders in free countries?  In dictatorships?
  • How do you think other citizens feel or react when they see risky art? Do you think they look away because they are afraid? Do you think they try to protect the artist?
  • Dictators are afraid that people will come together and challenge them. How do you think the arts help people come together?
  • Let’s try to find art in our country that might not be legal under a dictatorship.