The basic question: "How can demand for the arts be increased?" My goodness, what a complex topic...
For starters, I would like to lay out some questions that I have concerning the subject. Most certainly, there won't be a definitive solution or a conclusion by the end of the week; however, I propose these questions to help focus my own mind and as beginning elements from which I correspond and respond to the blog.
Most importantly, how should we define "demand"? What is the method of assessment and evaluation for this "demand"? In music, is this about concert attendance? In the visual arts, is this about the number of visitors to special exhibits?
Are we somehow under the impression that the appreciation for the arts was greater in the past? On what basis do we make this assumption? If we are looking at the number of sold seats at a concert, for example, is this really an indication of the societal interest in music? Or does this tell us more about the societal changes that we face or the face of society-at-large? In other words, is the change between past and present about art or about everything else?
In the past, the arts were supported in different ways. Mozart's patrons (the "policy makers" of his day) weren't always thinking about increasing "demand" and the triangular "appreciation/availability/accessibility" status of music. But in the long run, how did their "policies" affect us? What great things they did for the world of music! The benefits their largesse brought forth were much farther reaching than their mortal selves.
What are the differences between "demand," "appreciation," and "engagement" for the arts? In engagement, I see a healthy and productive room for discussion, agreement, experimentation, and argument. These are all necessary for a true appreciation and for continuously-increasing understanding. For me, demand signifies a simpler, and therefore less effective and impacting, consumer mentality. Prioritizing simply in terms of increasing "demand," has much more to do with marketing and crowd pleasing. This is neither a very artistic nor intellectual pursuit.
Finally, I note in the opening blog by Laura Zackaras that "We argue that arts education needs to be understood in terms of its contribution to the cultural life of our country." I'd like to add that "education" alone - and, much less so that which exists within the compulsory educational system - cannot make a dent in that cause. Rather, all educational efforts must be appreciated and supported in various, comprehensive, and complementing ways. Is the purpose of arts education in the public school systems, for example, solely about increasing demand and appreciation for the arts? Art for art's sake??? Or could it also have the potential to increase understanding and motivation for a changing/changeable world? In that case, arts education could be comprehended in terms of the wealth and the health of our country-at-large, reaching well beyond our cultural life.
Sam Hope, executive director, The National Office for Arts Accreditation (NOAA);
Jack Lew, Global University Relations Manager for Art Talent at EA;
Laura Zakaras, RAND;
James Cuno, Director, Art Institute of Chicago;
Richard Kessler, Executive Director, Center for Arts Education;
Eric Booth, Actor;
Bau Graves, Executive director, Old Town School of Folk Music;
Bennett Reimer, Founder of the Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience, author of A Philosophy of Music Education;
Edward Pauly, the director of research and evaluation at the Wallace Foundation;
Moy Eng, Program Director of the Performing Arts Program at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation;
John Rockwell, critic;
Susan Sclafani, Managing Director, Chartwell Education Group;
Jane Remer, Author, Educator, Researcher
Michael Hinojosa, General Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District
Peter Sellars, director
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