Syncing Brainwaves Through the Fourth Wall

Photo: "Quantum Brainwaves" by aLansong! from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.

What is actually neurologically involved in communication? What does it take for a speaker to convey something to a listener, and what does it take for that listen to both comprehend what's being said and remember it? In a paper published in August 2010 in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) called (dryly) "Speaker-listener neural coupling underlikes successful communication," three researchers from Princeton University detail an experiment that … [Read more...]

The Value of Arts is Not Going to Be Found in Economics

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This post originally appeared on the National Endowment for the Arts' Facebook page. The true value of art cannot be measured in economics alone. If that were the case, we’d be in trouble. It’s impressive that, per the new NEA research note Time and Money, the cultural industries contribute $70.9 billion to the U.S. annual GDP—but the total U.S. annual GDP is $14 trillion, which basically means the entire cultural sector contributes .51% of the entire GDP in any given year. On any given day, … [Read more...]

How Do We Make People Care (Again)?

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In March, arts advocate Arlene Goldbard spoke at the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations conference in Austin. Goldbard believes we need to start using a more empowered (and less-numbers-based) vocabulary for arguing for the value of the arts. At one point she noted: “The best argument for arts education is that children today practice endlessly interacting with machines, developing a certain type of cognitive facility. But without the opportunity that arts education affords to … [Read more...]

We Need New Beans to Count

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As an industry, the arts suffers from a value problem. This was thrown into sharp relief for me in an interview I had with an artistic leader from rural Wisconsin, who pointed out, “We’re all bean counters because the people we deal with, what they count is beans.” In almost everything we do to advocate for the arts, we place financial worth front and center, and in so doing we allow, even encourage, the people we’re trying to convince of art’s value to forget that that value is much more than … [Read more...]