The Performing Arts in a New Era

The Performing Arts in a New Era

The Performing Arts in a New Era

The Performing Arts in a New Era

Synopsis

An ambitious undertaking in a field often lacking critical data, the book also includes an assessment of the state of information on the performing arts. Trends affecting commercial and large nonprofit organizations, midsized nonprofit groups,and smaller, community-level groups are all examined.

Excerpt

The Pew Charitable Trusts commissioned The Performing Arts in a New Era from rand in 1999 as part of a broad initiative aimed at increasing policy and financial support for nonprofit culture in the United States. the goal of this study was to assist us in bringing new and useful information to the policy debate about the contributions and needs of the cultural sector at the national, state, and local levels.

The study was inspired in part by a pair of landmark reports on the performing arts published during the mid-1960s: The Performing Arts: Problems and Prospects, the Rockefeller Panel Report on the Future of Theatre, Dance, Music in America (1965); and the Twentieth Century Fund's report, Performing Arts-The Economic Dilemma, by William J. Baumol and William G. Bowen (1966). These reports described the burgeoning landscape of the nonprofit professional performing arts in the United States, articulating their benefits to American society and calling for a level of governmental and philanthropic support sufficient to their needs. Both reports noted that it was appropriate, at a time when the industrial economy of the United States had grown and prospered and the material needs of its citizens were by and large being met, for the nation to turn its attention to nonmaterial values-what would now be characterized as quality-of-life concerns-including the emotional, intellectual, and aesthetic satisfaction that the arts can provide. Indeed, in the 1960s, few Americans living outside the coastal cities had access to live professional performing arts experiences, and arts advocates urged that that situation be remedied.

How times have changed! Thanks in part to these two reports and to the exponential growth of both public arts agencies and arts philanthropy during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the live, nonprofit professional performing arts grew and prospered along with the economy during the ensuing 35 years. Simultaneously, the world of commercial culture experienced explosive growth as new mediacable television, videotape, and compact discs-joined the film and broadcasting industries in distributing cultural products. Today American life is saturated with arts and cultural activity, and American commercial culture is . . .

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