The actor Bill Fagerbakke is perhaps best known for his comedic roles on the television series Coach and Spongebob Squarepants. But in Moscow, Idaho, last week, he was also talking about serious issues, like the role of the arts in our culture.
If you have seen Mr. Fagerbakke only as Dauber on the network comedy Coach, or only heard him as the voice of Patrick on the children’s cartoon series Spongebob Squarepants, you might think comedy was all he was about. But, you’d be mistaken. When asked about the role of the arts in our society, the actor’s answers are serious and thoughtful: “It’s not an extra; it’s not a frivolous side dish. It is a part of the spine of our society.”
Fagerbakke, who was a football player and actor while a student at the University of Idaho, was in Moscow last week to perform in a play and sign autographs at a local shopping mall. He’s helping to raise money as part of the UI’s Performing Arts Campaign. “It’s almost like a deterioration of our culture when arts are seen as something frivolous that don’t need money.”
Fagerbakke says in fact, that creative expression, energy and inspiration are tied to technology and science and he says he hopes the country can move in a direction that allows for a more natural appreciation and respect for the arts.