Saturday, May 30, 2009

Returning to the Field

So, I let this blog lapse for a while because it seemed extremely purpose-less and rambly, I would just make bitter commentary about politics and theater with no particular knitting theme except they interested me, and they have to do with culture. But now I'm picking this blog up with a new mission. Recently, I've become interested again in how we, as artistic citizens, can return the civic-artistic culture to strength.

My attention to this subject has in the past ebbed and flowed--at one point I was inspired by the concept of "Artistic Literacy" as propounded by Augusto Boal, and by the introductory arts classes at NYU where I study, to think about how a new arts curriculum could be designed to interest young children in the arts. I think most art classes today focus too much on the instructive, skills-based approach (teaching how to play the violin, teaching how to draw an accurate person) without giving enough of the reason to play (music appreciation, an appreciation of color and form). Instilling the concept of art as a method of communication is important to me, because I feel like when art goes wrong is when it forgets that it's a conversation.

So this thread of my life lapsed as I got involved in my own, smaller world of study, the theater company I'm working on starting, the publishing company I'm working on starting, my actual full-time job during the week, and silly things like family and my social life.

A few months back I stumbled across the >100k Project. You really ought to read his description of the project for yourself, but the thrust of it is using funding models to create sustainable, independent theater (and other arts) in small rural and exurban communities.

Lately, I've become really inspired by it, especially with this week's announcement of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Engagement that finally has assured me that President Obama takes this as seriously as I do. The >100k project and WHO-SICE (I pronounce it "Whose Is?" for fun) seem like a match made in heaven, and the NEA grant that >100k has already won makes it look like reality.

So now I'm going to be thinking about this a lot more. I'm doing research, trying to put together my own statistical models (I'm not a statistician but my mother and father have both studied some in undergraduate and graduate schools so we'll be working together). I'm hoping that with the new website and the general power of the internet, I'll be able to do enough research to really contribute some new knowledge.

Part of my goal is based around the work Richard Florida has done in trying to quantify the "Creative Class" as he calls it. The Cultural Economy is a subset of the Creative Class, and I think I want to figure out what our role is in it. I've just bought "The Rise Of The Creative Class" so this is my dumping ground for ideas related to it, and to the topics that >100k tosses my way.

I will probably still blog about other things as well, all theater and politics related, but with that clear focus in mind, I think I really can make this blog a regular and useful resource.

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