AJ Logo


Is there a Better Case for the Arts?
A Public Conversation Among People Who Care

« Music is the Best Advocate for Music | Main | A Matter of Relationships »

March 06, 2005

What we say / what we do

There seem to be two tracks for this conversation about the Rand study, about intrinsic/extrinsic benefits of creative experience, about the limits of instrumental arguments for the arts: one track follows what we say, the other follows what we do.

What we say revolves around persuasion...convincing decision-makers or gatekeepers that influence the richness, depth, and access to creative experience. This isn't just about bolstering direct state and federal funding, but also engaging school districts looking for deep budget cuts (often in the arts), or convincing cities formulating 'smart growth' plans that arts activities have an integrated place in their decisions.

As we all know, persuasion isn't always about deep and nuanced truth, but about arguments that work.

On the other track is what arts organizations, arts managers, arts supporters do, that is, how we ensure deep and lasting connections between our creative efforts and the larger world. In this track, it's essential that we have deep and nuanced knowledge of how the world values what we offer, or what benefits or connections they seek.

The Rand effort, and other explorations of value or benefits, speak to both tracks...even though we tend to focus most on the first.

I'm pleased and honored to be among such a great group to discuss both tracks (and others as they're found). To me, this issue is not just about forming an argument, but it lies at the core of all things in policy, management, marketing, subsidy, outreach, education, and on and on.

Posted by ataylor at March 6, 2005 06:43 PM


Post a comment

Remember Me?

This weeklong weblog is now closed, but will remain on-line as an archive of our conversation. In addition, the entries and reader comments are available for download in Adobe Acrobat format, suitable for reading on-screen or printing. You will need the free Acrobat reader software to open the files below:

Participant Entries (~880K, pdf)
Full text of the posts of our 11 invited participants.
Reader Comments (~900K, pdf)
Full text of reader comments posted to the site.

Is there a better case to be made for the arts? more...

· Weblog Home
· The Question
· Participant Bios
· Reader Comments

Developed in partnership with
The Wallace Foundation

rss feed
(rss 2.0)

Ben Cameron
Executive director of Theatre Communications Group more

Adrian Ellis
Managing consultant of AEA Consulting more

Bill Ivey
Director of the Curb Center, Former Chair, NEA more

Joli Jensen
Professor, University of Tulsa, Author: "Is Art Good for Us?" more

Jim Kelly
Director, 4Culture, Seattle, WA more

Phil Kennicott
Culture critic, Washington Post more

Glenn Lowry
Director, Museum of Modern Art more

Robert L. Lynch
President, Americans for the Arts more

Violinist more

Andrew Taylor
Director, Bolz Center, University of Wisconsin more

Russell Willis Taylor
President, National Arts Strategies more

Doug McLennan
Editor, ArtsJournal.com

Gifts of the MuseGifts of the Muse
Free access to the full RAND study at the core of this conversation, funded by the Wallace Foundation. An executive summary is also available. Other Wallace Foundation publications and reports are available through its Knowledge Center.

Top arts researchers will come together to present and dissect the latest data at Measuring the Muse, an unprecedented National Arts Journalism Program-Alliance for the Arts conference at Columbia University.

The Values Study
A collaborative effort of 20 Connecticut arts organizations, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, and facilitator/author Alan S. Brown. The effort trained arts leaders to interview key members of their constituency, to discover what they valued about the creative experience -- in their own words. The process was sponsored by The Wallace Foundation's State Arts Partnerships for Cultural Participation (START) Program.

Valuing Culture
An initiative of London-based think tank, Demos. This effort brought cultural and policy leaders together to discuss the public value of culture in the UK. Resources include (with a downloadable briefing report by Adrian Ellis), a collection of speeches from the event in June 2003, and a summary report by John Holden called Capturing Cultural Value.

The Arts and Economic Prosperity
The 2002 report and related resources assessing the economic impact of America's nonprofit arts industry, based on surveys of 3,000 nonprofit arts organizations and more than 40,000 attendees at arts events in 91 cities in 33 states, plus the District of Columbia.

The Value of the Performing Arts in Ten Communities
A project of the Performing Arts Research Coalition, researched by the Urban Institute, exploring measures of value in specific cities across the United States. Reports are available for download.

Copyright ©
2005 ArtsJournal. All Rights Reserved