It's Not just about nonprofits

By Bill Ivey, Director, Curb Center, Vanderbilt University

There is a gravitational pull that seems to take us back to discussing advocacy in relation to nonprofits.  I took our charge to be about policy engagement around things like IP, media ownership, and openness and access in relation to the Internet.  In that regard I like Yolanda's list...She highlights problems that affect everybody, not just artists or nonprofits.  The simple truth is that the domination of market interests in shaping arts-related policy over the past 30 years has handed Americans a high-priced "permission culture" in which every piece of information, art, or entertainment is a vehicle for somebody's rights and revenue streams.  It may be that artists and nonprofits are too busy with pressing issues of funding, endowments, etc. to divert attention to these matters that haven't been on the radar screen in the past.  But if not us who?  At the very least we should think of ways to convince the larger society that cultural vibrancy matters, and that access to things like cultural heritage, to political speech, to and open internet and to the tools of personal creativity are critical to the quality of life our democracy can deliver.  The nonprofit arts may feel exempt from these forces, but they are not.  If the National Association of Broadcasters (fully abetted by NPR) can strangle low-power FM radio, community life is diminished.  Access and openness are being nibbled away on many fronts.  Who do we think has the time, energy, and smarts to lead? 

July 22, 2010 8:09 AM | | Comments (0) |

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