Recently by Ellen Lovell

In contemplating "expressive life," suggested by Bill Ivey, I like his folklorist's approach; it allows for a wider range of expressions than stereotypical (or uninformed) definitions of "art." We express ourselves many ways in a culture -- and these expression include things like foodways, dress, celebrations, family and group communications and others that would be categorized in a more broadly anthropological definition of culture. It seems to me that when we talk about cultural participation, including what we want to support and promote as a society, we need to talk about the what: what are we expressing and does it go beyond ordinary discourse and ways we act in the every day that reflect our cultural heritage?

I had a dark thought. I think the Supreme Court just complicated the idea of expressive life. If corporate contributions to political campaigns are now to be protected as part of our freedom of expression, what exactly qualifies as "expressive life?"

I keep coming back to creativity, to the ability to make what is new, to combine previously disparate elements, to communicate something previously unrecognized. And yes, it happens in the syntheses, in the discoveries of science too. Our case for the participation of all in creative expression would be strengthened by understanding how this occurs. Expression must be qualified with "creative."

January 26, 2010 2:05 PM | | Comments (1) |


This Conversation Are the terms "Art" and "Culture" tough enough to frame a public policy carve-out for the 21st century? Are the old familiar words, weighted with multiple meanings and unhelpful preconceptions, simply no longer useful in analysis or advocacy? In his book, Arts, Inc., Bill Ivey advances "Expressive Life" as a new, expanded policy arena - a frame sufficiently robust to stand proudly beside "Work Life," "Family Life," "Education," and "The Environment." Is Ivey on the right track, or more

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