Does It Feel Good? The Endorphins of Activism

By Alex Shapiro, Composer
Doug's topic-du-week is important, because we need to speak openly about the disconnect between so many artists and the world in which they are making their art and their living. Complacency is not creative, it's passive. But art-making is a hopeful, purposeful act, and so is activism. How can we appeal to that optimistic spark in our colleagues and encourage them to apply it to realms beyond their own studios? Just as artists are indeed often left out of important government policy discussions, they are also just as often responsible for choosing not to participate. Ouch.

Many, many artists are fabulous activists and outspoken entrepreneurs when it comes to generating their own art world and bringing colleagues together. Their efforts are often beautiful, exciting, profound... but yet, self-referential. Their events are by and for other, often like-minded, artists and arts insiders. The creators and participants have a natural affinity for what's going on around them, and they feel good doing it. They're part of a team.

Appealing to someone's affinity is also one of the key ingredients for fund-raising efforts: the patron feels good being involved in something they like, in which they have a positive, helpful role. They're part of a team.

So how do we create an affinity in the minds of artists by which they'll want to participate in the non-artsy process that governs them? If what drives them is the endorphin-drenched joy of what they do in their daily creative lives, how can a message come across that by raising their voice and giving a little of their energy, they'll feel good? How do we make activism an appealing drug team artists want to take join? 
July 19, 2010 2:47 AM | | Comments (0) |

Leave a comment


This Blog Arts and culture are a cornerstone of American society. But arts and culture workers are often left out of important policy conversations concerning technology and creative rights even though the outcomes will have a profound impact on our world. Is it benign neglect? Or did we... more

This blog is a project of... the Future of Music Coalition, the National Alliance for Art Media + Culture, Fractured Atlas, and more

Our Bloggers We have 22 bloggers taking part in this week's conversation. They are... more

Contact us: Click here to send us an email... more

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
State of the Art
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
The Unanswered Question
Joe Horowitz on music

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary