Editorial: Don’t forget about the arts

Editorials typically tend to focus on hard-hitting topics.

The last four that have run on this page, for example, have addressed the Long Island Power Authority’s reform attempts, efforts to curb fatalities on the roads, New York State’s tax cap and a costly plan to build a bridge over the Peconic River.

Sometimes, though, it’s worth taking a step back from tax rates, budget gaps and laws passed or not passed to remind ourselves of some of the less tangible things that also exist in our corner of the world.

This week’s paper is a good example of that.

The artists residing in our communities — or sometimes, as with the FOLD Festival and Friday’s JumpstART in downtown Riverhead, the artists who visit this area — include musicians, painters, actors, writers, photographers and more. These people help us find our own meaning in a world that’s often preoccupied with bottom lines, majority votes or just trying to pay each month’s mortgage and utility bills.

Trying to find a balance, which we see frequently and even take note of in this week’s paper, is no simple task. A woman who spent over 200 hours creating a mural on a downtown Riverhead building hopes to keep it from being removed, while the owner wants to take it down to make the property more economically viable. And this week’s FOLD Festival, which brought world-renowned acts to Sound Avenue, will likely have a few neighbors who were unhappy with the impact it had on their own quality of life.

Hopefully, this week’s paper will remind us that our area is able to attract and showcase well-known artistic talent and simultaneously grow its own — and that artists deserve to be celebrated among those helping to develop downtown areas, organize festivals or craft progressive legislation.

While their contributions in the way of economic benefits or tax base may be less tangible, artists can often provide a sense of meaning and wonder that few businesspeople or politicians ever can.

How much is that worth?