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Arts, Inc.

Arts, Inc.: How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights

Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Arts, Inc.
    Book Description:

    In this impassioned and persuasive book, Bill Ivey, the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, assesses the current state of the arts in America and finds cause for alarm. Even as he celebrates our ever-emerging culture and the way it enriches our lives here at home while spreading the dream of democracy around the world, he points to a looming crisis. The expanding footprint of copyright, an unconstrained arts industry marketplace, and a government unwilling to engage culture as a serious arena for public policy have come together to undermine art, artistry, and cultural heritage—the expressive life of America. In eight succinct chapters, Ivey blends personal and professional memoir, policy analysis, and deeply held convictions to explore and define a coordinated vision for art, culture, and expression in American life.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93092-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. The Cultural Bill of Rights
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xx)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-26)

    I was only half paying attention to a segment on public television’sNews-Hourfeaturing Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. I perked up when reporter Jeffrey Brown asked how he had “made his way” in the musical environment of America. Salonen’s answer contained an accurate assessment of the character of the U.S. arts scene:

    The real shock was coming to this very complex society, because I had this typical European attitude where the ranking list is completely clear. That the greatest dramatist of all times is Shakespeare, the greatest composer is Beethoven, or Bach perhaps, and the greatest...

  6. ONE Heritage
    (pp. 27-56)

    “Come Friday.”

    “But Jack, it’s Monday now; we’ll have to get a truck.”

    “Just come up this week. If we don’t move these things now, they’ll be gone.”

    It was summer 1973. The caller was Jack Loetz, a graying senior marketing executive with Decca (now MCA) Records, based in New York City. I was director of the Country Music Foundation in Nashville; Jack was a dedicated fan of early country music, a trustee of the CMF who took special pride in Decca’s country legacy, a legacy that boasted classic recordings by Patsy Cline, Bill Monroe, Ernest Tubb, and Loretta Lynn....

  7. TWO Artists
    (pp. 57-93)

    Back when I was a sophomore living on the third floor of the University of Michigan’s first coed dorm, I asked an art student friend who lived down the hall what his parents thought about his choice of career. I’ve never forgotten his answer: “Every family wants a Picasso hanging on the wall, but no family wants one standing in the living room.” He’d hit the nail on the head; we Americans love—even worship—our artists from afar, but once the curtain comes down or, as Bob Dylan says, “the gallery lights dim,” we’re just as happy if they...

  8. THREE A Creative Life
    (pp. 94-123)

    It was March, early spring in most of the country but late winter in the Northeast, and dirty, melting mounds of snow still made the sidewalks treacherous for political appointees trapped in the wrong footgear—standard–issue Washington dress shoes. The year was 2000, and I was visiting Lynn, Massachusetts, to learn about Raw Art Works, an arts therapy program targeting children and teens caught in the numbing surroundings of the housing projects in this economically challenged industrial town nine miles north of Boston. Then as now, 22 percent of Lynn families with children lived on incomes below the poverty...

  9. FOUR America, Art, and the World
    (pp. 124-154)

    Late in his October 2001 press conference on “the state of our war against terror,” with his eyes on the finish line, President Bush asked rhetorically why “vitriolic hatred” of America exists in some Islamic countries: “I’m amazed that there is such misunderstanding of what our country is about, that people would hate us. . . . Like most Americans, I just can’t believe it. Because I know how good we are, and we’ve got to do a better job of making our case.” In her postconference analysis for ABC News, commentator Cokie Roberts distilled the president’s musings to a...

  10. FIVE Art of Lasting Value
    (pp. 155-183)

    In northern Michigan, March is still the dead of winter. It was blowing hard enough to make me think twice about driving the upper road to Hancock—a route guaranteed, when the wind was from the northwest, to hand you nine miles of dusty, sideways-blowing snow. I sure didn’t want to spend late-night hours digging out of a drift when there was school the next day. Most seniors had it pretty easy, but my mother was one of the high school teachers, so there was no way I could be late. But there were no longer any movie theaters operating...

  11. SIX Strong, Responsible Institutions
    (pp. 184-221)

    Back when I was chairman of the NEA, I made a point of handing a dollar to every street entertainer I passed. “It’s my job,” I’d half-joke with friends. “I’m the head of the U.S. agency that makes grants in the arts; this is the least I can do.”In the late 1990s Washington, DC, harbored a number of outdoor musicians who appeared in the same spots, day after day. There was the trumpet player near the Metro stop across from the World Bank who somehow managed soulful solos durinthe bleary-eyed morning commute of White House staffers. Every weekend, in my...

  12. SEVEN The Failure of Government
    (pp. 222-260)

    Congressman Obey thought we had a chance. “Now that we’ve balanced the budget,” he explained, “we can begin to pay for some of the ‘grace notes’ in life.” David Obey, a fire-breathing fourteen-term Democrat representing central Wisconsin, had been a staunch advocate of the NEA and was enthusiastic about a budget increase for the agency; I was delighted to have his support. It was spring 1999, and we were hard at work trying to secure a small budget increase to fund the NEA’s new Challenge America initiative, and even though Obey was then in the minority party (in 2007 he...

    (pp. 261-296)

    Early in 2006, at the Las Vegas International Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft Corporation chairman Bill Gates painted his vision for future consumer technology. “He demonstrated a computerized wall easel for the home that can show television images, keep track of family members and interact with an office computer,”the Washington Postreported. Gates also showed off a phone that could make calls on conventional land lines or over the Internet. A year later Steve Jobs did him one better, auditioning the iPhone mobile entertainment center for an audience of worshipful Apple fans. On top of satellite radio, camera phones, Blackberrys,...

  14. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 297-298)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 299-322)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 323-328)
  17. Index
    (pp. 329-342)