The Arts and State Governments

The Arts and State Governments: At Arm's Length or Arm in Arm?

Julia F. Lowell
Elizabeth Heneghan Ondaatje
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 84
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  • Book Info
    The Arts and State Governments
    Book Description:

    State government spending on the arts is minimal-and may be losing ground relative to other state expenditures. The authors examine efforts made by state arts agencies, or SAAs, to address a changing political and fiscal environment and present their findings on the risks and rewards of bringing the arts and political worlds closer together.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4087-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Most of America’s state arts agencies (SAAs) were created to take advantage of federal arts funds that became available at the founding of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 1965 (Netzer, 1978; Larson, 1983; Mark, 1991).¹,² The NEA’s founders believed that state governments would be better able than a federal agency to find and nurture artists and arts organizations in small towns and rural areas; they also believed that public arts funding decisions should not be dominated by a centralized arts bureaucracy. As a result, they encouraged the states to set up SAAs (U.S. Congress, 1961; Scott, 1970...

  8. CHAPTER TWO At Arm’s Length
    (pp. 5-16)

    At their founding, in the 1960s, SAAs’ legislatively mandated purposes were predominantly broad in scope, allowing for a variety of possible activities. Adams (1966, p. 8) summarizes these mandated purposes as follows:¹

    To stimulate and encourage presentations of performing arts and fine arts[;] to encourage public interest in the arts[;] to make surveys of public and private institutions engaged in artistic and cultural activities[;] to make recommendations on methods to encourage participation in, and appreciation of, the arts to meet the needs of the state[; and] to encourage freedom of artistic expression.

    But although SAAs’ mandated purposes were diverse, the...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Catalysts for Change
    (pp. 17-24)

    In the 2000s, SAAs face a different and in some ways more difficult economic and political environment than they did in their early years. State appropriations for SAAs now far outpace SAA funding from the NEA, reducing SAAs’ dependence on the NEA but increasing their vulnerability to highly volatile state budgets.¹ In fact, state expenditures on the arts since 1989 have lost ground compared to other types of state expenditures, and prospects for the growth of state general funds, the predominant financing source for SAAs, are discouraging. SAAs must also cope with a pronounced shift in American attitudes toward the...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Making the Case for the Arts in Montana
    (pp. 25-32)

    When the Montana State Legislature established the Montana Arts Council in 1967, it did so in recognition

    of the increasing importance of the arts in the lives of the citizens of Montana, of the need to provide opportunity for our young people to participate in the arts and to contribute to the great cultural heritage of our state and nation, and of the growing significance of the arts as an element which makes living and vacationing in Montana desirable to the people of other states. (Montana State Legislature, 2005)

    Historically, the Council has always been one of the smallest SAAs,...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE New Priorities for Public Arts Funding in Maine
    (pp. 33-38)

    The Maine Arts Commission was established in 1966 as an independent agency of state government, its mission to

    encourage and stimulate public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs; expand the state’s cultural resources; and encourage and assist freedom of artistic expression for the well being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state. (Maine Arts Commission, 2002d)

    Like the Montana Arts Council, the Commission is a small SAA, with just nine full-time program staff. The executive director is hired by the board, which has up to 21...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Strategic Management of State Arts Agencies
    (pp. 39-48)

    The two SAAs examined in Chapters Four and Five, the Montana Arts Council and the Maine Arts Commission, show that it is possible for an arts agency to respond quickly and effectively to a major crisis. It is not immediately clear, however, to what extent the experiences—and strategies—of these two agencies apply to other SAAs. Both are small agencies in large but sparsely populated states that are, relative to many states, culturally homogeneous. And both Montana and Maine are “small government” states; that is, states in which public spending of all kinds is viewed with some suspicion. So...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN At Arm’s Length . . . But Dancing
    (pp. 49-52)

    Our research suggests that Moore’s strategic triangle—specifically, the idea of mobilizing political legitimacy and support—has resonated strongly with SAA leaders. SAAs across the country have identified ways in which their programs and activities benefit residents in their states. They have also adopted more-proactive approaches to advocacy. In Montana and Maine, the SAAs’ realistic analyses of and creative responses to their political and budgetary environments have put the two agencies on a firmer political footing after near-elimination in the 1990s.

    But the experiences of the Montana Arts Council and the Maine Arts Commission also point to some risks that...

  14. APPENDIX A Some Facts About State Arts Agencies
    (pp. 53-56)
  15. APPENDIX B Montana Arts Council’s Listening Tour
    (pp. 57-58)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 59-68)