It’s uncomfortable to think that more arts writing is creating less substantive engagement with the arts, but the arts are not the only field wrestling with this issue. As Alice Robb reported (ironically, in The New Republic, last September), “Science has never been so democratic. It’s just not clear whether democracy is what science needs.” There may be no correlation between current arts participation numbers and the increase in arts journalism, but arts journalism played a significant role in audience development during the 20th century.
“Artists themselves are realising that their most devoted fans can bankroll the rest of their careers. Not only are they able to cut out the middle man, but they can make their runs far more limited – the extreme being just one person purchasing their goods. Here are some of the creatives who have cracked 21st-century patronage.”
“There is a severe problem with diversity in the arts, and the media, right across the board. It’s so obvious that you don’t even need statistics to see it. And it’s getting worse, now that the cost of living in many large cities plus, for example, the falling revenues in the music industry – means that it is much, much harder to make it. Those who do make it will typically have somewhere to crash during those lean years, and those who do are disproportionately well-off.”
“One is to start devoting as much energy to engaging Canadians in the arts as it does to helping art get made, a direction that is becoming politically important in a democratic culture where the barriers (and even the distinction) between consumer and producer are breaking down. The other is figuring out how to channel funding to younger artists without destroying the achievements of the previous generation.”
Canadian programming matters; that we should want it to exist. This isn’t about “telling Canadian stories to Canadians.” It isn’t about seeing pictures of beavers, Mounties and canoes on our screens. It’s about participating in a living culture, and recognizing that a living culture is often a local culture.
“How then did we get to a place where American higher education appears more concerned with applicants’ test scores and alumni financial contributions than with the education of current students and the contributions of alumni to our society as a whole? A review of America’s curious history of—and relationship with—an obsessive culture of testing may help answer these questions.”
“The nominations of the director this time around, and a British actor, David Oyelowo, playing a heroic black figure in the American narrative — not the victim of white oppression, but a corrective to it — would have had particular resonance at this moment. This year is the 50th anniversary of both the Selma marches and the Voting Rights Act. And after months full of tragic news from Ferguson, Mo., Staten Island and all over America, race remains a persistent and complex issue that still has the capacity to divide.”
“There are those who expect that whatever alternative cultures they encounter through social media must comply with their own aesthetic or moral framework. They feel entitled, not just to enter spaces and places where they do not necessarily belong, but also to demand censure and closure if they don’t like what they find there.”
Not really. “As for displacement — the most objectionable feature of gentrification — there’s actually very little evidence it happens. In fact, so-called gentrifying neighborhoods appear to experience less displacement than nongentrifying neighborhoods. It’s time to retire the term gentrification altogether.”
“In some of the discussion surrounding the case, there has been an implication that Muslims (and other non-Westerners, for that matter) don’t have the rich satirical tradition found in places like France. That’s not quite true. Satirical traditions may not be the same in France as they are in Iraq or Venezuela. But the mocking of rulers, politicians and pretensions has long had a place in every culture.”
“Having scored a $38 million Robert W. Woodruff Foundation grant in December, the Woodruff Arts Center announced Tuesday that it has a received a $6.6 million grant … [to fund] a new three-year program designed to better connect families and students with the arts center’s art and arts education offerings.”
“Last month, Opera Australia removed a music critic for the Sydney Morning Herald from its complimentary press ticket list after the company’s artistic director was reportedly “very offended” by a piece on the newspaper’s arts website. This was followed Jan. 2 by a similar “comp” list ban against a critic for the publication Stage Noise. And in New York, a theatrical press agent blacklisted Wall Street Journal writer Joanne Kaufman, after she admitted to “bolting” from Broadway shows during intermission.”
“According to Scott Timberg, a former arts reporter for the Los Angeles Times, we are witnessing a transformation: a downsizing of our cultural capital generated by ‘anti-elite rage, market populism, and corporate consolidation.’ The creative class is being exploited rather than supported — by its supposed ‘friends’ as well as its enemies.”
“The $1.1 million in state taxes that Brown wants to allocate for the arts council is one one-thousandth of a percent of the $113.3 billion in overall general fund spending he proposed last week. That continues a longstanding policy going back to the early 2000s in which California governors invariably have proposed anteing up the bare minimum from state tax coffers that’s needed to qualify for about $1 million in matching federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.”
“Music, performing and visual arts, one of nine sectors included as part of the creative industries, showed a 19% increase on 2012, which is second only to product, graphic and fashion design. The new figures also show a 46% increase in the music and performing arts sector since 2008. Meanwhile, film, TV, video, radio and photography was worth £9.3 billion in 2013, a decrease of 5.2% on 2012. The sector as a whole however has increased by 13% since 2008.”
“For every dollar of increased spending on artworks, $1.98 of total economic output is created. In the case of museums, every new dollar of demand creates $1.76 of gains. On the jobs side, every new publishing job created (which includes arts management software) produces a whopping 3.5 additional jobs throughout the economy, while each additional professional artist produces an average 2.9 jobs.”