Since Diane Ragsdale left her work at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and wandered to the Netherlands to pursue a PhD, she’s been increasingly feisty about how the arts world works — particularly in the United States, as that’s her area of focus and experience. And I rather adore the emerging Diane (I was already a huge fan of the previous iteration). She’s particularly bold in her latest post about goals and aspirations for the entire arts system, and lobs a challenge into the room for anyone and everyone to answer:
If our goal for the next century is to hold onto our marginalized position and maintain our minuscule reach—rather than being part of the cultural zeitgeist, actively addressing the social inequities in our country, and reaching exponentially greater numbers of people— then our goal is not only too small, I would suggest that it may not merit the vast amounts of time, money, or enthusiasm we would require from talented staffers and artists, governments, foundations, corporations, and private individuals to achieve it.
Arts world….your move.