The Visible Hand

Hand

Much of my pragmatic (as opposed to moral) argument for deep focus on community engagement is of the “invisible hand” variety. (Thank you Adam Smith.) Economic, cultural, and social forces will inevitably, but without direct action, change the landscape to such an extent that business as usual in the arts will eventually become unsustainable. The area where such pressures move from the invisible/indirect to the visible/direct is in public … [Read more...]

Civil Rights Museum

CivilRightsMuseumImages

After attending the Americans for the Arts Convention in Nashville last month my wife and I went on to Memphis to explore another city that we had not visited. As part of that trip we went to the National Civil Rights Museum. (On a personal note, I had not registered the museum's subtitle "At the Lorraine Motel" so when I arrived I had the breath knocked out of me seeing "the balcony.") Coming so soon after the conference session I discussed in … [Read more...]

The Self-Centered Pursuit of Diversity

Nashville

In my last post I reflected on the 2014 Americans for the Arts Conference in Nashville. I concluded by mentioning an important session on diversity and promised a follow-up. There is much discussion (lip service and otherwise) of and occasional work toward diversity and inclusion in the arts industry. One difficulty is that much of the support infrastructure in the arts is connected via metaphorical superglue to the white monied establishment. … [Read more...]

Diversity Definitions

The Arts and Science Council in Charlotte has been involved in some serious work to promote diversity, access, and inclusion. I attended a session at last June's Americans for the Arts conference in Pittsburgh in which Robert Bush, now Interim Director of the Council, described their efforts. In the twenty years from 1990-2010, the population of Charlotte rose from 500,000 to 1 million. In the same period, the city had the among the highest … [Read more...]

AftA Thoughts (2013): I

Pittsburgh

The 2013 Americans for the Arts Convention was held in Pittsburgh earlier this month. I went, with my newly minted Twitter account, intent on communicating about what happened as it happened. Then I discovered I have a learning disability. I simply cannot tweet and process what's happening at the same time–not just the same instant, but the same time frame! (For those of you who have already abandoned Twitter, yes I know I'm way late to the … [Read more...]