Understanding the Arts and Creative Sector in the United States

Understanding the Arts and Creative Sector in the United States

Understanding the Arts and Creative Sector in the United States

Understanding the Arts and Creative Sector in the United States


The arts and creative sector is one of the nation's broadest, most important, and least understood social and economic assets, encompassing both nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, for-profit creative companies, such as advertising agencies, film producers, and commercial publishers, and community-based artistic activities. The thirteen essays in this timely book demonstrate why interest in the arts and creative sector has accelerated in recent years, and the myriad ways that the arts are crucial to the social and national agenda and the critical issues and policies that relate to their practice. Leading experts in the field show, for example, how arts and cultural policies are used to enhance urban revitalization, to encourage civic engagement, to foster new forms of historic preservation, to define national identity, to advance economic development, and to regulate international trade in cultural goods and services.

Illuminating key issues and reflecting the rapid growth of the field of arts and cultural policy, this book will be of interest to students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, to arts educators and management professionals, government agency and foundation officials, and researchers and academics in the cultural policy field.


Joni Maya Cherbo

Can you imagine contemporary life without art? Look around: almost everyone is doing something that could be considered artistic! Kids are drawing, presenting plays in school, taking band or ballet after school, and playing video games galore. Teenagers are listening to popular music, downloading and sharing tunes on iPods, and going to rock, rap, and country music concerts. People of all ages are attending opera, dance, theater, and symphony performances as well as art fairs and gallery openings. Most Americans are avid moviegoers, renting films for home use, watching them on television and, increasingly, on computers. When Americans travel, they visit cultural institutions and sites. When foreigners visit our shores, cultural fare is a primary attraction. Americans engage in arts hobbies such as photography, weaving, painting, and ballroom dancing. They frequent book clubs and take classes in the arts. Many engage in designing their homes and gardens, while some participate in volunteer work or join boards and committees of arts organizations. the arts are an integral part of Americans’ holidays and personal celebrations. the Fourth of July, for example, is celebrated by concerts, parades with marching bands, the display of flags and fireworks, and singing of the national anthem. Traditional weddings are decorative events. Couples exchange rings to mark their union. They and their families select floral arrangements, a dinner menu, a tiered cake, and bridal and bridesmaids’ gowns. Music is chosen for the walk down the aisle to take their vows. Every aspect of contemporary American life has an aesthetic or creative dimension.

Our culture industries are thriving. the United States boasts worldrenowned opera companies, arts museums, symphony orchestras, theaters, and dance troupes that are a source of both national and local pride. Most are organized as nonprofit arts institutions, of which there are about 100,000 in this country. Our commercial arts, in particular the movie and recording industries, are internationally dominant. Five entertainment moguls run the movie industry and own numerous communication companies—TV and radio stations, live theatrical operations, and publishing houses. Broadway, the . . .

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