Michael Pearce writes for the Martin Center about why art matters.

What do conservatives want to conserve? Clearly, conservatives everywhere desire the preservation and maintenance of the good things belonging to their various cultures that have been passed down from previous generations to their present time. That desire also implies conservatives wish to continue their cultural inheritance by passing these benefits on to their children and future generations. That is why teaching culture at universities and schools is important to conservatives.

People who claim to be conservatives, but do not participate in the perpetuation of these good things are deluding themselves. Partisan and pedantic, they corrode the conservative image to the point of appearing philistine. That false presentation of conservatism harms its reputation. …

… Consequently, it is disturbing to witness the reckless abandonment of the arts apparent in contemporary conservative America.

Cultural outlets that viewers might expect to be reliably conservative do little to suggest that they are the champions of the good things of the past—or that they have any idea of how these good things might address the present or the future. An online survey of news stories about the arts on the Fox News website, for example, reveals a desperate shortfall in coverage, which should cause embarrassment to all Americans claiming to champion the conservative cause. Thankfully, some evidence shows that the situation is improving. After a decade of neglect, National Review has done the right thing and now publishes regular stories about some of the excellent American art of the past. However, it has yet to begin considering living artists who carry the Western artistic tradition.