Democracy and the Arts: The Role of Participation

By Terri Lynn Cornwell | Go to book overview

Preface

As I complete final editing of this book, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) -- the largest cultural agency of our federal government -- is embroiled in a controversy over funding of so-called "obscene art." Although this conflict relates to the discussion of First Amendment issues, censorship, and definitions of pornography, which are not dealt with in this book, it does bring arts advocacy to the forefront -- for better or for worse -- and lends itself to the broader discussion of democracy and the arts.

Some critics simply dismiss this current conflict: "Most people are too sensible to take the art lobby seriously," said columnist Jack Germond of "The McLaughlin Group" ( NBC television, July 30, 1989). Others reiterate their disdain for all government arts funding: [It's] porkbarrel for the intelligentsia. Abolish the NEA," said commentator George Will on This Week with David Brinkley (ABC television, October 1, 1989). Yet, so far the controversy has had a beneficial effect on the arts advocacy groups, in spite of the criticism: It has forced them to reexamine the role of government support, to look more critically at their strongest congressional allies and opponents, and to begin to understand the complex relationships they have with each other.

This book is a product of research started a decade before the current funding controversy, when the arts lobby was still quite young and while I was searching for a Ph.D. dissertation topic. As my research unfolded in the 1980s, I also became an active participant in the arts advocacy field, first with the American Arts Alliance and then with the fledgling Congressional Arts Caucus, during the Reagan administration. In short, my perspective of the arts lobby has been from distinct angles: I've been a part of the lobby as it confronted Congress, and I've also watched it from my perspective on an advocacy group within Congress itself. And now from the vantage point of a university

-xi-

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Democracy and the Arts: The Role of Participation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Democracy and the Arts: An American Perspective 1
  • Notes 9
  • 2 - Democratic Theory: General Considerations 11
  • Notes 28
  • 3 - Participation in the Arts: A Historical Perspective 31
  • Notes 45
  • 4 - Participatory Democracy and the Arts 49
  • Notes 76
  • 5 - Democracy and the Arts in Ancient Greece 83
  • Notes 89
  • 6 - Nineteenth-Century American Democracy and the Arts 93
  • Notes 103
  • 7 - Twentieth-Century American Democracy 107
  • Notes 119
  • 8 - Participation in the Arts: Mid-Twentieth Century America 123
  • Notes 158
  • 9 - The Role of Participation: Implications and Recommendations 165
  • Notes 185
  • Appendices 189
  • Bibliography 199
  • Index 209
  • About the Author *
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