As arts managers we’re in the business of beauty. Aesthetics are important to us. Preserving them, understanding them, honoring them, honing them, creating them, accessing them… we may not all agree about what is beautiful, but we certainly know much of art, whether it is making cultural commentary or seeking shock value, gives us pleasure to behold.

Denis Dutton speaks in this incredible TED talk (with help from the absolutely amazing Andrew Park. If you haven’t seen it already, his latest video of Iain McGilchrist’s “The Divided Brain” is amazing) about beauty and the incredible history of the artistic need for creating and celebrating beautiful art objects. Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s a gift, according to Dutton, deep within our minds handed down from ancestral celebration of human intelligent skills and an emotional connection that pre-dates language. As arts managers we are important, arguable essential, in the preservation and innovation of beauty.

As an arts manager what do you think of Dutton’s Darwinian theory of beauty? How can we use this understanding of beauty and it’s connection to our emotional center to protect and advocate for our arts organizations?