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The Ninety-Second 
American Assembly 
May 29 -June 1,1997 

Arden House 
Harriman, New York 



This report is a public document 
and may be reproduced without permission. 


On May 29, 1997, seventy-eight men and women gathered at 
Arden House, in Harriman, New York, for the Ninety-second 
American Assembly entitled "The Arts and the Public Purpose." 
The participants included artists, arts executives, critics, busi- 
ness men and women, foundation officers, academics, politicians, 
and policy makers — from all over the country; from the commer- 
cial, not-for-profit, and "unincorporated" worlds; and from the 
left, middle, and right of politics. (This Assembly used the word 
"unincorporated," to reflect a range of citizen-based, often avoca- 
tional, arts in their many manifestations.) Consistent with The 
American Assembly's meeting format, the participants represent- 
ed a broad spectrum of views and interests. 

For three days the participants examined the arts as a sector in 
American life and the extent to which the arts meet the public 
purposes of the American people. This Assembly then identified a 
number of measures that, if implemented, would enable artists 
and artistic enterprises both to meet public purposes better and 
to flourish. 

Frank Hodsoll, former chair of the National Endowment for the 
Arts, and Alberta Arthurs, former director for Arts and 
Humanities at the Rockefeller Foundation, served as co-chairs. 
Daniel Ritter, former counsel to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on 
Education, Arts, and Humanities, was the director of this 
Assembly. Margaret J. Wyszomirski, professor of political science 
and director of the Arts Management Program at Case Western 
Reserve University, served as the chair of the project's steering 

Joni Maya Cherbo was the research director for this Assembly; 
the titles of the commissioned essays and commentaries that she 
edited are listed at the end of this report. The Assembly expects 
these essays to be published as a book, which will be edited by 
Joni Maya Cherbo and Margaret J. Wyszomirski. In addition, 
eighty not-for-profit and commercial service organizations and 
trade associations were asked to identify short- and long-term 
issues in their fields; their helpful responses and materials were 
bound as a book for the participants. The participants also 
received a book of previously published articles and essays select- 
ed from publications throughout the nation that related to the 
issues in their discussions. 


W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. will publish a book by the 
project's co-chairs, Alberta Arthurs and Frank Hodsoll, on 
the central issues of this Assembly. 

During the Assembly, participants heard three panel presenta- 
tions, which provided additional background and informed the 
participants' discussions. The first panel set the parameters for 
the meeting and was moderated by Daniel Ritter, with Alberta 
Arthurs, Alison Bernstein, Frank Hodsoll, and Margaret J. 
Wyszomirski. The second, entitled "Commercial and Not-for- 
profit Arts Nexus," was moderated by Mark Rosenthal and 
included Jane Alexander, Harvey Lichtenstein, David Henry 
Hwang, and William Ivey as panelists. The last, on "Views from 
the Field," was moderated by William Honan, with panelists Sam 
Campana, Jeffrey Cunard, Murray Horwitz, and Maria-Rosario 
Jackson. At the final evening plenary session, there were presen- 
tations by Robert Pinsky, poet laureate of the United States, and 
Pat Alger, songwriter and recording artist. 

We gratefully acknowledge funding support for this project by: 

Major Funders 

AT&T Foundation 

The Ford Foundation 

The Rockefeller Foundation 

Robert Sterling Clark Foundation 

The J. Paul Getty Trust 

The Henry Luce Foundation 


The Coca-Cola Foundation 

Thomas S. Kenan, III Institute for the Arts 

The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation 

The Overbrook Foundation 

The New York Times Company Foundation 

Time Warner Inc. 

We would like to express our appreciation for the fine work of 
the discussion leaders and rapporteurs in guiding participants in 
their sessions and preparing the first draft of this report; Jeffrey 
Cunard, Catherine French, William Glade, Nicolas Kanellos, 
Kevin Mulcahy, and Barbara Robinson were indispensable. We 


owe our special gratitude to the project's co-chairs, Alberta 
Arthurs and Frank Hodsoll, and the chair of its steering com- 
mittee, Margaret J. Wyszomirski, for the work that they did in 
bringing the report to its final form. 

The American Assembly takes no position on any subjects pre- 
sented here for public discussion. In addition, it should be noted 
that the participants took part in this meeting as individuals and 
spoke for themselves rather than for the organizations and 
institutions with which they are affiliated. 

The text of this report is available on The American Assembly's 
home page on the World Wide Web ( cu I 
amassembly I ') , along with information about other Assembly 

David H. Mortimer 
The American Assembly 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Boston Library Consortium Member Libraries 


of the 


At the close of their discussions, the participants in the 
Ninety-second American Assembly, on "The Arts and the 
Public Purpose," at Arden House, Harriman, New York, May 
29 - June 1, 1997, reviewed as a group a preliminary draft of 
this report. While not everything that follows was endorsed by 
everyone, this report reflects general agreement as to the 
results of this Assembly. 

The Arts and the Public Purpose 


The Arts in American Life. The Ninety-second American 
Assembly defined the arts inclusively — in a spectrum from 
commercial to not-for-profit to volunteer, resisting the conven- 
tional dichotomies of high and low, fine and folk, professional and 
amateur, pop and classic. This Assembly affirmed the interde- 
pendence of these art forms and the artists and enterprises that 
create, produce, present, distribute, and preserve them, and 
underscored, in particular, the interdependence of the commer- 
cial and not-for-profit arts. 

This Assembly saw the arts sector as a large, ubiquitous, eco- 
nomically and socially significant aspect of American public life, 
comparable in scale and importance to other sectors of American 
life, such as the health, education, and science sectors. 

The Public Purposes of the Arts. The Ninety-second 
American Assembly identified the broad public purposes served 
by the arts and the specific ways in which the arts can and do 
meet the needs of the nation and of all Americans. Specifically, 
this Assembly identified four public mandates addressed by 
the arts: 


1. The arts help to define what it is to be an American — by 
building a sense of the nation's identity, by reinforcing the 
reality of American pluralism, by advancing democratic 
values at home, and by advancing democratic values and 
peace abroad. 

2. The arts contribute to quality of life and economic growth — 
by making America's communities more livable and more 
prosperous, and by increasing the nation's prosperity at 
home and abroad. 

3. The arts help to form an educated and aware citizenry — by 
promoting understanding in this diverse society, by develop- 
ing competencies in school and at work, and by advancing 
freedom of inquiry and the open exchange of ideas and 

4. The arts enhance individual life — by encouraging individual 
creativity, spirit, and potential; and by providing release, 
relaxation, and entertainment. 

The Arts Sector. The Ninety-second American Assembly 
found that the arts sector — commercial, not-for-profit, and unin- 
corporated — is enormous. A conservative estimate puts consumer 
spending on the arts in 1995 at roughly $180 billion, or 2.5 
percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). If all copyright 
industries are included, these numbers roughly double. 

This Assembly also found that, notwithstanding the arts 
sector's size, investment and jobs in it are risky. Even in the 
commercial world, very few arts products make money. Not-for- 
profit organizations have to raise half their revenues through 
contributions and grants. "Unincorporated" groups rely on volun- 
teers. Only about 25 percent of artists work full time at their art, 
and the vast majority of them make considerably less than other 
professionals and lack basic health and other benefits. 

Yet, all Americans attend, consume, encounter, or create some 
kind of art each year. The largest proportion of this participation 
appears to be through the media, and this is so whether the art 
derives from the not-for-profit or commercial worlds. This 
Assembly found that cooperation between the commercial and 
not-for-profit worlds can reduce the barriers to access for 


American audiences, and that the new technologies, especially 
the Internet, are becoming increasingly important in this respect. 

The Arts Sector and Public Purposes. The Ninety-second 
American Assembly found that all three parts of the arts sector 
contribute, in major and varying ways, to the public purposes 
that it identified. 

This Assembly, however, singled out a number of opportunities 
that could dynamically increase the arts sector's capacity to 
achieve public purposes. These included: (i) a more overt and con- 
tinuous commitment of time and resources by artists and arts 
organizations to public purposes; (ii) increased collaboration 
across the component parts of the arts sector to this end; (iii) 
greater attention to the arts sector's general financial security 
and to funding that advances public purposes; (iv) improved 
means of distribution and dissemination to provide access for all 
Americans to a full range of the arts at reasonable cost; (v) 
renewed attention to, and funding for, preservation of America's 
artistic heritage; (vi) improved educational programs in the arts; 
(vii) increased and improved data, research, and analysis to 
support the development of arts policies; and (viii) better collabo- 
ration and coordination among advocates and professionals in 
support of public policies to these ends. 

Recommendations. The Ninety-second American Assembly 
identified a number of ideas that, if implemented, would help 
artists and artistic enterprises both to meet public purposes and 
to flourish. There was consensus that all those represented at 
this Assembly would need to work together if real progress were 
to be made. 

1. Artists and arts institutions — commercial, not-for-profit, 
and unincorporated — should consider and devote time and 
resources explicitly to achieving public purposes. 

2. Partnerships among the commercial, not-for-profit, and 
unincorporated parts of the arts sector should be developed 
and expanded, to enhance its capacity to achieve public 

3. Foundations, corporations, individual benefactors, commer- 
cial arts organizations, regions, states, localities, and the 


federal government should work together to develop strate- 
gies (i) to ensure a larger measure of financial stability for 
serious artists and arts organizations throughout the arts 
sector, and (ii) to stimulate the diverse range of arts activi- 
ties that address public purposes in American life. 

4. Public and private funders, commercial arts distribution 
entities, and government agencies should (i) make noncom- 
mercial arts products more accessible to the general public, 
(ii) help geographically disadvantaged communities get 
greater access to the arts and share their community arts 
outside their communities, and (hi) promote the use of new 
technologies for making the arts accessible. 

5. Additional and specifically earmarked public and private 
funds should be identified (i) to inventory current preser- 
vation efforts, (ii) to develop a code of "best practices" in 
preservation, and (iii) to recognize living, contemporary 
artists as critical to America's artistic heritage. 

6. America's education and arts communities should make the 
fullest possible range of resources available to provide 
serious and rigorous arts education to young people (K-12), 
adults and to older citizens. The scope of arts education 
should be expanded to include the design and media arts, 
media literacy, and dance movement. 

7. Arts professionals, arts service and trade associations, 
policy professionals, universities, and public policy insti- 
tutes should collaborate on data collection, research, and 
analysis on the arts sector and on arts policy. 

8. The commercial, not-for-profit, and unincorporated parts of 
the arts sector should collaborate in pursuing government 
policy objectives that further the sector's interests. 

9. The arts sector should continue the dialogue begun at this 
Assembly — at annual association meetings and specially 
convened and targeted meetings, including possibly a 
national meeting of leaders from the federal government 
and all segments of the arts sector. 



We have come together to examine what public purposes are 
served and ought to be served by the arts in America, in all 
their grand variety. In limited measure, we reflect that variety. 
We come from large commercial enterprises, small not-for-profit 
organizations, and private workrooms. We are community work- 
ers and executives of media conglomerates, poets and Broadway 
producers, critics and politicians, choreographers and professors, 
architects and public officials, philanthropists and movie stars. 
We have struggled across differences, politics, and aesthetic 
perspectives, and together have concluded that there are public 
purposes to the arts in America that we all share, indeed that all 
Americans share. We have specific proposals to strengthen the 
ways the arts can fulfill these purposes, and we have prepared 
this report to set them forth. 

At this American Assembly, we have tried to find our common 
concerns and hopes. What may be most significant about our 
endeavor is the cooperation that it represents. Our intent was to 
find fresh ground for discourse about the role and place of the arts 
in American life, and to place the arts in full perspective. 

Whatever the responses to the individual recommendations in 
this report, three important points must not go unnoticed. First, 
we insist on a recognition that the arts include the whole spec- 
trum of artistic activity in the United States — from Sunday 
school Christmas pageants to symphony orchestras to fashion 
design to blockbuster movies. Second, we firmly acknowledge the 
interdependence of all parts of the arts sector — noting particular- 
ly the links between the commercial and not-for-profit parts. 
Third, we affirm that the arts do serve public purposes and, 
therefore, are of benefit and concern to all of us. We pledge our- 
selves to the reinforcement of the interdependence of all the arts 
and to the public purposes that they serve. We also call on others 
to join us in these efforts. 


The arts in America derive in unique ways from the pluralism 
of our society, and from many traditions — preserved, imported, 
wedded, and put into collision — that originate here and in every 
country on earth. America's arts are as diverse as rhythm & blues 


and symphony orchestras, movies and mambo, abstract expres- 
sionism and the dozens, singing commercials and stand-up come- 
dy, Charlie Parker and Georgia O'Keeffe, advertising logos and 
Bruce Springsteen, Balanchine and Bill "Boj angles" Robinson, 
Superman and Carlos Santana, Buster Keaton and the Vietnam 
War Memorial. As happily profane as Harpo and as sacred as a 
kachina doll, as eclectic as jazz itself, as unpredictable as the 
rhythms of William Carlos Williams, as sweeping as Oklahoma, 
our national art, as an immeasurable whole, remains a form or 
motion, rather than any kind of stasis or purity. 

The arts in our country celebrate and preserve our national 
legacy in museums, concert halls, parks, and alternative spaces; 
they also inhere in the objects and buildings we use every day, 
and in the music we listen to in our cars, workplaces, homes, and 
streets. They calm us and excite us, they lift us up and sober us, 
and they free our spirit from the relentless mill of daily obliga- 
tions; they entertain as well as instruct us; they help us 
understand who we are as individuals, as communities, and as a 
people. Their beauty or rage can fill us with emotion. In grief or 
celebration, and also in the subtler modes of irritation, amuse- 
ment, sexiness, or depression, in great works or in the humblest 
objects or diversions, they tell our personal and national stories. 
Through them, Americans examine their national unity and 
preserve it. 

Participation in the arts is a treasured American activity. An 
overwhelming majority of Americans personally take part in the 
creation or presentation of art. Americans have accorded a place 
to all of the arts. Indeed, the arts are so pervasive that we are not 
always conscious that we are engaging in them when we are. 

"The arts," as this description makes clear, are defined broadly 
by this Assembly. 

They include the not- ^he arts"...are defined 

for-profit arts and the broadly _ they include the not- 
commercial arts, as t? . n 

well as the range of for-profit... commercial... and 
citizen arts that is "unincorporated" arts.... 

referred to as "unin- 

corporated" — community, avocational, traditional, or folk arts, 
the indigenous arts in their many manifestations. This Assembly 
resisted calling up the conventional dichotomies that have 


separated the arts into high and low, fine and folk, professional 
and amateur, insisting, instead, on a full spectrum concept of an 
arts sector. 

In developing this fresh concept of the arts spectrum, this 
Assembly offers an associated concept: that a fully functioning, 
flexible arts sec- 

tor is institution- ...a fully functioning, flexible arts 
ahzed within our se ctor...should figure in public 

society, and that -. -. , ..-. r -, , 

this sector should debates with a force...equal to 
figure in public that of other sectors... 

debates with a 

force and importance equal to that of other sectors, such as 
science, health, transportation, and education. The arts sector 
does not have this status yet. But the participants in this 
Assembly are in agreement that the arts do attend dynamically 
to the public purposes of the nation, and that the missions and 
the contributions of the arts should be recognized and reinforced 
with due seriousness. It is the relationship between the arts and 
the public interest of all Americans that this Assembly identified 
and explored. 


Typically, arts issues have been addressed in terms of the needs 
of the arts and artists. In contrast, this Assembly presents find- 
ings based on a very different assumption: that the arts can and 
do meet the needs of the 

...the arts can and do meet ^, on and its citizens ; 

, , r , . Public purposes are not 

the needs of the nation... static . they change and 

evolve; they are reinter- 
preted over time. For our time, in the context of rapid technolog- 
ical, media, and social change, the arts — it can be argued — have 
special public responsibilities. Through the interpretive and 
expressive strengths of the arts and of artists, Americans can 
much more fully live with change and make change meaningful. 
This nation's founders perceived the importance of the arts 
both in civil society and in the marketplace. They wished to 
establish conditions in which art could flourish. They also 
commissioned monumental works of art dedicated to the public 


purpose. Clearly, there is a grounding in the Constitution for the 
view that the arts serve important public purposes — both in the 
First Amendment (which reflects the value in a democratic soci- 
ety of diverse views) and in the copyright clause (which urges 
Congress to promote the progress of knowledge by granting rights 
to authors to induce them to be creative). Today, there is a role for 
the arts in fulfilling some of the public purposes contained in the 
Preamble of the Constitution. Art is a necessary and important 
component of a healthy Republic. 

This Assembly identified four public mandates that are 
addressed by the arts. 

I. The arts help to define what it is to be an American : 

• By building a sense of the nation's identity. The arts provide 
the symbols of who we are and what we stand for. They tell 
the nation's story as it unfolds, defining and redefining that 
which we hold in common. The arts provide this sense of 
identity at the national, state, and local levels — in neighbor- 
hoods and homes, rich and poor. 

• By reinforcing the reality of American pluralism. This 
country's diverse populations and its ethnic, indigenous, and 
historic communities find their voices and parallel histories 
and share them through many art forms. Through the arts, 
we cross borders — among individuals, geographies, and 

• By advancing democratic values at home. The arts encourage 
association, and provide us with opportunities for shared 
creativity and shared enterprise. They help us experience 
community, and invite us to focus together on ideas, issues, 
and emotions. In doing so, they sustain and deepen the dia- 
logue about the American experiment and democratic values. 

• By advancing democratic values and peace abroad. America's 
arts are often advance agents of democracy. They project 
American values, vitality, and resourcefulness, as well as 
technological prowess, around the world. This American pres- 
ence abroad often helps bridge cultural divides and makes 
cooperation and peaceful relations more possible. 

II. The arts contribute to quality of life and economic growth : 

• By making America's communities more livable and prosper- 
ous. From murals, songs, and dances to museums, stages, 


landscapes, and built environments, in cities, suburbs, and 
towns, the arts make the places we live in better. Not only do 
the arts provide the grounding of identity and the creation of 
spirit in communities, they also provide jobs and incentives 
for community improvement. The arts help to attract new 
residents and visitors. There are solid studies documenting 
the importance of the arts in local and regional economies, in 
inner cities and rural towns. 

• By increasing the nations prosperity domestically. The arts 
sector represents an enormous industry. It provides jobs on a 
national basis, and attracts visitors from all over the world. 
In addition, Americans' involvement and education in the 
arts strengthens the ingenuity and creativity of our 
workforce and the design and usability of our products and 

• By increasing the nation's prosperity globally. American 
commercial arts are one of the nation's largest export indus- 
tries. They dominate world cultural markets and produce a 
trade surplus in the billions. The arts also help to design and 
package American products and services, making them more 
competitive globally. 

III. The arts help to form an educated and aware citizenry : 

• By promoting understanding in this diverse society. Study of 
the arts can help Americans to understand the experiences 
that move us and communicate to us, to develop discrimina- 
tion and judgment, and to gain a sense of our civilization and 
the civilizations that contribute to ours. 

• By developing competencies in school and at work. It is 
now well documented by studies that engagement in the arts 
has beneficial, measurable effects on cognitive development 
in children — fostering creativity, problem-solving, team- 
building and communication skills, discipline, and direction, 
all desirable citizen qualities. Lifelong learning in the arts 
provides many of the same benefits. 

• By advancing freedom of inquiry and an open exchange of 
ideas and values. The arts invite us to critique what we 
know, to challenge the conventional, and to consider change. 
In this way, the arts help the citizenry analyze, interpret, 
and debate the conditions of national life. 


IV. The arts enhance individual life : 

• By encouraging individual creativity, spirit, and potential. 
American values include, although they are not limited to, 
creativity, individualism, competence, and a commitment to 
self-improvement. The arts help to advance these values. 
The arts can also promote self-fulfillment, spirituality, and 
respect for tradition. However we . define our individual 
goals, the arts provide meaning and motivation. This 
enhancement of private goals ultimately serves our collective 
public purpose. 

• By providing release, relaxation, and entertainment. In the 
opinion of most of the participants at this Assembly, provid- 
ing opportunities for entertainment is a valid public purpose. 


This Assembly, in its attempt to define the arts sector, made 
certain observations regarding the sector's size, organization, 
participants, customers, and audiences. At the same time, this 
Assembly recognized that a great deal of additional information 
is needed for any realistic measure of the sector. The brief analy- 
sis presented here frames a general sense of the sector, drawn 
from the participants' experience and the background materials 
made available to them. 

Size and Financing of the Arts Sector 

The arts sector is enormous. A conservative estimate of con- 
sumer spending on the arts, entertainment, and communications 

amounted to roughly $180 billion in 

1995, 2.5 percent of the GDP, according The arts Sector is 
to sources prepared for this Assembly. _ _ r i j_n 

A l ■ ^ ij enormous... LbutJ 

A more comprehensive accounting would 

include newspaper publishing, maga- investment in It 

zine publishing, business information IS risky. 

services, and interactive digital media 

from the full arts and entertainment/communications industry, 

raising the figure to $292 billion. If one includes all copyright 

industries, the $180 billion number would roughly double. 

A principal asset of the commercial arts is the development of, 
and access to, sophisticated marketing and distribution systems. 
A principal asset of the not-for-profit arts is intellectual capital, 


in the form of collections, repertoire, and other creative materials. 
Both for-profits and not-for-profits draw on artistic talent, and 
both attempt to develop brand or trade names. 

Despite the magnitude of the arts sector, investment in it is 
risky. Very few art products make money or break even. For 
instance, in Hollywood, 20 percent of the movies make 80 percent 
of the revenues, and most feature films lose money. Few 
Broadway shows recoup their investment. Not-for-profit organi- 
zations cannot "earn" all the money it takes to sustain their 
operations; they have to raise on the order of half their revenues 
through contributions and grants. For most not-for-profits, grants 
do not provide sufficient or dependable funding, and the efforts to 
raise the necessary funds can divert attention away from artistic 
concerns. Most unincorporated activities rely largely on the 
in-kind and volunteer contributions of community members. 

Commercial, not-for-profit, and unincorporated arts organiza- 
tions vary greatly in management dimension and stability. 
Entertainment companies are organized by industry and have 
increasingly become dominated by a few very large firms, but 
even these large organizations are unsettled by mergers, 
takeovers, and the effects of boom-bust cycles. Not-for-profits 
comprise many autonomous and specialized organizations. The 
largest and most successful of them may be established and rela- 
tively stable, but the existence of many not-for-profits, especially 
small and mid-sized ones, is precarious. Some unincorporated 
institutions live day-to-day; most depend on volunteers; others 
are run as successful small businesses. It is notable that in more 
rural areas, cultural organizations often serve as dependable, 
ongoing "centers" of community activity and spirit. 

For artists themselves, work in the sector can be risky. Only 
about one quarter of all artists work solely at their disciplines. 

Although relatively well 

educated-40 Percent of <artists are often poorly 
them have a bachelors or ., , , 1 , ,* 

higher degree— artists are P aid and lack Jleal tn Or 

often poorly paid and lack retirement benefits. 

health or retirement bene- 

fits. On average, artists earn about $24,000 a year, which is about 
$7,000 less than other professionals earn. But even these figures 
are misleading. Few artists earn this much directly in the arts; 


most earn two-thirds of their income from other, nonartistic jobs. 
Although a very few artists are among the highest paid people in 
the United States, these "Star" earners are atypical and skew the 
average earnings figure upward. 

Artists work in all parts of the arts sector and often move back 
and forth from commercial to not-for-profit to unincorporated set- 
tings. In 1990, half of this country's artists worked in for-profit 
businesses. Slightly more than one-quarter worked for them- 
selves in unincorporated businesses, and about 7 percent were 
employed by not-for-profit organizations. 

The Arts and Their Publics 

Commercial arts organizations market to broad, mass, and 
global audiences, on the one hand, and to niche audiences target- 
ed by specific advertising needs or other corporate objectives, on 
the other hand. They are, in large part, market driven. Not-for- 
profits work hard to maintain and expand existing audiences for 
the artistic fare they specialize in. They are, in large part, mis- 
sion driven. Unincorporated arts activities depend on donations 
of time and effort by interested members of their communities. 

Everyone in America attends, consumes, encounters, or creates 
some kind of art each year. A 1992 "Survey of Public Participation 
in the Arts" reports: 65 percent 

of adult Americans watched or Everyone in America 

listened to the arts primarily attends, Consumes, 
produced or presented by not- . . 

n n., . . v encounters, or creates 

for-profit arts organizations ' 

through the media; 58 percent SOme kind of art each 

created or produced these arts year. 

themselves; and 43 percent 

experienced these arts in person. From these numbers, it appears 
that the electronic experience has become the dominant form of 
participation in the arts, followed by personal involvement, even 
for those arts normally associated with the not-for-profit world. 
The media are the primary means of distribution in both the for- 
profit and not-for-profit worlds. 

A problem for the not-for-profit and unincorporated worlds, and 
even for independent producers in the commercial world, is that 
the most effective means of distribution are beyond their reach. 
This is so whether one is trying to reach a broad or niche 


audience, unless the niche is very local. The electronic media and 
the marketing that sells them are expensive; so is the allocation 
of shelf space in chain book stores, video stores, and other outlets. 
In the case of the broadcast media and most cable outlets, adver- 
tiser objectives and the importance of their revenues dictate what 
is seen, except in less desirable time segments. And this is so, no 
matter how deep the pockets of a particular sponsor. 

Although the commercial and not-for-profit arts are distinct, 
cooperation between them occurs regularly. Not-for-profit thea- 
ters produce work that goes to Broadway and then on to the 
movies or television. Performing companies often use both classi- 
cal music and rock, for example, and other art forms as well. 
Commercial publishers occasionally look to not-for-profit presses 
for new products. Movie and television stars, and other commer- 
cial artists, work, from time to time, in the not-for-profit sector. 
Commercial producers look to the not-for-profit world for the 
development of talent, and commercial professionals are enabled 
in the not-for-profit world to hone their skills and to work more 

A new means of electronic distribution and dissemination is 
available through the Internet. With its linked architecture, mul- 
timedia features, interactive capacity, and global reach, the 
Internet is proving to be an effective way to provide information 
about art and to market art, as well as to represent and distrib- 
ute print, visual, and audio products. It may become particularly 
effective in the areas of literature and the visual arts, including 
museum collections. The Internet can also be helpful in fund- 
raising and building audiences and membership. However, given 
the easy and broad public access to materials on the Internet, 
intellectual property issues represent a growing concern, one in 
need of systematic attention. 

While there is no substitute for experiencing objects directly or 
attending live performances, the Internet and other media allow 
persons far from the museum, the concert hall, or the theater to 
have access to art that would not otherwise be available to them. 
They also allow producers and presenters, including those from 
rural areas, to share their art with those outside their own com- 
munities. In addition, the media permit both quiet contemplation 
and quick scanning of art works at home. Finally, it is possible 


through the Internet for audiences and artists, on a worldwide 
basis, to more easily comment on and discuss art. 


Across the sector, the arts — commercial, not-for-profit, and 
unincorporated— address 
public purposes with vary- . ... . , , 

• j r mi. ...opportunities exist to 

mg degrees of success. This . ^^ 

Assembly believes a num- increase the arts sector s 
ber of opportunities exist to capacity to achieve public 

increase the arts sector's purposes 

capacity to achieve public 

purposes. These include: 

• more overt and continuous commitment of time and 
resources by artists and arts organizations to public 

• increased collaboration across the component parts of the 
arts sector to this end; 

• greater attention to the arts sector's general financial secu- 
rity and to funding that advances public purposes; 

• improved means of distribution and dissemination to provide 
access for all Americans to a full range of the arts at reason- 
able cost; 

• renewed attention to, and funding for, preservation of 
America's artistic heritage; 

• improved educational programs in the arts; 

• increased and improved data, research, and analysis to sup- 
port the development of arts policies; and 

• improved collaboration among arts sector associations, 
advocates, and professionals in support of public policies to 
these ends. 

This Assembly discussed some of the ways in which the arts 
serve or do not serve public purposes. The following issues 
seemed particularly significant. 

Defining What it is to Be an American 

Lack of access to the arts, in all their diversity, appears to be a 
major obstacle in meeting public purposes. In the commercial 
realm — movies, television, and recordings — a variety of products 


reach many publics, both at home and abroad. This popular cul- 
ture makes a significant contribution to establishing our contem- 
.. porary national 

Not-for-profit and unincorporated * , en * y ' .f n 

r . also provides sto- 

artists and arts organizations... ries from our past. 

often have severe difficulties in However, through 

achieving the distribution the power of its 

necessary to make a substantial marketm g> thls 

product tends to 
impact. obscure other, 

often individual 
contributions of communities and artists that are not part of the 
"Top 40." Not-for-profit and unincorporated artists and arts orga- 
nizations also contribute to the establishment of national, state, 
and local identities and provide stories from our past, but they 
often have severe difficulties in achieving the distribution neces- 
sary to make a substantial impact. A big challenge for the future 
is the best use of technology to provide access for all Americans to 
the full spectrum of the arts. 

Contributing to Quality of Life and Economic Growth 

Across the spectrum, as previously noted, the arts create large 
numbers of jobs and produce a major trade surplus for the nation. 
Such economic benefits affect localities throughout the country — 
attracting tourists, anchoring urban development, and providing 
local jobs. However, there are a number of problems asssociated 
with economic growth in many American communities. For exam- 
ple, the application of design principles and planning to urban, 
suburban, and rural settings merits more consistent attention. 
Increasingly, communities are debating appropriate preventive 
regulation or other public action to help ensure positive benefits 
from growth and change. 

Forming an Educated and Aware Citizenry 

All three parts of the arts sector help educate citizens and pro- 
vide perspectives on the social conditions and issues of the day. 
However, throughout the sector, the educational effects of the arts 
are underappreciated. For instance, the educational programs of 


not-for-profit arts institutions are often given low priority and are 
underfunded despite the major services that they provide. The 
unincorporated arts 

are similarly under- ...throughout the Sector, the 

valued; they help -■ ,. -, rr , r j_i ±_ 

many children and educational effects of the arts 
adults develop skills, are underappreciated. 

see their potential, 

and get information. But they are not used and funded for educa- 
tional purposes to the extent that they should be. On the other 
hand, the vast marketing and outreach activities of the commer- 
cial sector are great resources that could be better used to help 
form an educated and aware citizenry — and to help the not-for- 
profit and unincorporated parts of the arts sector achieve their 
educational missions. 

All three parts of the arts sector are accused, at times, of pro- 
ducing material that is inimical to the public interest, and debate 
on such issues will surely continue. This Assembly acknowledged 
that the arts mirror the great differences in values and expecta- 
tions of the society, and urged openness, tolerance, and fullness of 
information and participation in these debates. 

Enhancing Individual Freedom, Spirit, and Potential 

Individuals draw courage, solace, and inspiration from works of 
art that circulate across the commercial, not-for-profit, and unin- 
corporated parts of the arts sector. The American who watches 
network television, sings in a choir, listens to audio-books, and 
enjoys a dance performance, lives in a matrix of all three. It is not 
possible to draw a bright line between the commercial, not-for- 
profit, and unincorporated arts. Furthermore, the distinction 
between them has little meaning to audiences and individuals. 
However, the importance of the unincorporated part of the arts 
sector is not fully appreciated. There is perhaps no ingredient in 
this mix more supportive of individual freedom, spirit, and 
potential than the activities carried out without compensation by 
avocational practitioners in traditional, community, and other 
unincorporated settings. The importance of these artistic activi- 
ties needs better documentation, attention, and support. 



The following recommendations reflect a broad spectrum of 
views expressed by participants in this Assembly. They address 
the issue of how the capacity of the entire arts sector might 
be strengthened, practically and realistically, to meet public 

At the outset, this Assembly recommends that all arts business- 
es, arts institutions, and artists continue and expand the time and 
resources that 

...arts businesses, arts institutions, the y devote t0 
and artists [should] continue and ac ievmg 

. public purpos- 

expand the time and resources es f tne arts 

[for] achieving public purposes... The arts sec- 

tor's acceptance 
of existing public benefits, and its inherent capacity to illuminate 
American life in all its diversity, argue strongly for it to consider 
explicitly the public purposes inherent in its work, and to make 
that work broadly available. 

Achieving Collaboration and Partnership 

Recognizing that audiences and artists flow freely across the 
commercial, not-for-profit, and unincorporated parts of the arts 
sector, this Assembly strongly encourages developing and 
strengthening partnerships and collaborations among the parts of 
the arts sector to achieve public purposes. 

1. The productivity and competitiveness of American business 
in general — and of the communications, information, tech- 
nology, advertising, design, fashion, and entertainment 
industries in particular, the "arts industries" — depend on 
creative, intelligent, and imaginative men and women. 
Persons educated in the arts can help businesses achieve 
such productivity and competitiveness. 

• Business, educational, and cultural organizations should 
work together to encourage the careers of artists and their 
involvement in making American business more produc- 
tive and competitive. Ideas for consideration include 
internships and scholarships for art students; equipment 
donations; consultancies for art faculty members in 


industry; joint fundraising; and "arts industry" mentoring 
of artists as they develop their trades and talents. 
American business is attracted to communities with strong, 
lively, educational and cultural institutions. Many regions, 
cities, and towns have used the arts to make themselves 
notable as destinations to visit and as places to live. 

• National associations of arts organizations, chambers of 
commerce, and similar institutions should work together 
(i) to produce impact studies and cases that show the rela- 
tionship between a strong arts presence and economic 
development, and (ii) to educate communities as to the 
impact of this relationship. American cities represented 
at this Assembly expressed interest in demonstrating 
their success in developing through the arts. 

• As state and local governments mount development 
efforts, they should work closely with arts organizations 
and artists as well as with businesses and business men 
and women. Again, models for such cooperation exist and 
should be publicized. 

The commercial, not-for-profit, and unincorporated parts of 
the arts sector have 

important reasons to The commercial, not-for- 

work together in a fit ^ unincorporat ed 

variety ol areas. n , . 

• They should collab- P arts of the arts sector 

orate to yield have important reasons 

shared ideas and to work together... 

approaches in such 

areas as preservation, protection of intellectual property 
rights, First Amendment protections, access to technolo- 
gy, and access to the most effective means of distribution 
of art. Scholars and lawyers working on these problems 
should work across the sector. 

• The arts sector should develop mechanisms that will 
enable it to share information and ideas on behalf of con- 
stituents and on behalf of the entire spectrum. Executives 
of associations representing all parts of the arts sector 
should take responsibility to achieve this, and should 
begin to meet to identify their shared needs. 


Improving Financial Support and Investment 

Enormous differences in size and scope characterize the finan- 
cial support of artistic activities across the entire arts spectrum. To 
ensure that the richly diverse American arts flourish, grow, and 
better meet public purposes, this Assembly recommends that all 
interested parties — government; private funders; commercial, not- 
for-profit, and unincorporated arts organizations; and members of 
the general public — explore new ways of funding and investing in 
the arts that would further public purposes. 

1. Commercial arts institutions have long had an interest in 
the products and talents of the not-for-profit and unincorpo- 
rated worlds, just as not-for-profit arts institutions have 
long had an interest in the products and talents of the com- 
mercial and unincorporated worlds. 

• The three parts of the arts sector should work together to 
attract an investment pool from foundations, corpora- 
tions, and individuals to fund specific projects and/or 
organizational capacities that would help the arts achieve 
public purposes. 

2. Foundations — private, community, and family — have played 
a critical leadership role in stimulating the growth and 
evolution of America's not- 

for-profit arts. Building on ...foundations Can 
their experience, founda- . ■% . j 

tions can today provide ^ " 

renewed leadership in renewed leadership... 

defining ways in which the 

arts might better meet public purposes and be funded to 

that end. 

• In addition to their consideration of artistic achieve- 
ments, foundations should devote serious attention to the 
public purposes of the arts, and set goals for themselves 
and their grantees that fund improvements in the capac- 
ity of the arts to meet these purposes. 

• Foundations are funding more research and policy- 
related projects in the arts than was the case in the past. 
As a part of this effort, they and their grantees should 
develop evaluation criteria that measure and assess the 
impact of public and other funding in achieving public 


• Arts institutions and artists cannot sustain their efforts 
to achieve public purposes without a degree of long-term 
financial stability. Foundations should take the lead in 
generating funds for general operating support, as well as 
project support, for arts institutions. They should also 
help generate funds to support individual artists who 
have demonstrated a capacity for excellence. 

• A "New Crowd" of potential donors is emerging with 
resources and reasons to be interested in the arts. 
Foundations should take the lead in locating new individ- 
ual and corporate donors interested in helping the arts 
and in working with them to increase funding to achieve 
public purposes. 

• Foundations should explore and analyze alternative fund- 
ing sources for the arts, including PRI's (program-related 
investments); loans and guarantees; in-kind as well as 
contributed support; prizes and competitions. 

Corporations play a significant role in funding the not- 
for-profit arts — sponsoring major international museum 
exhibitions, concert series, and domestic and international 
tours of major performing arts companies, as well as making 
grants. Corporations have also distinguished themselves in 
sponsoring quality series on both commercial and public 

• Corporations should consider (i) specific grants to help 
artists and arts organizations achieve public purposes, 
(ii) increased corporate image sponsorship of quality offer- 
ings on television, (iii) broadened employee matching 
grant programs benefiting the arts, (iv) subsidized tickets 
for employees to attend arts productions and exhibits, and 
(v) in the case of financial institutions, allocating percent- 
ages of credit card transactions to the arts. 

The federal government has long provided support for the 
arts through copyright and First Amendment protections, 
broadcast spectrum allocation, tax policy and incentives, 
and direct funding of selected activities. The federal govern- 
ment achieves national public purposes in these ways. 

• All interested parties should explore, in a fresh, open, and 
informed way, the most appropriate methods of federal 
support of the arts in furtherance of the public purpose. In 


. .- . , . , , , addition to programs 

All interested parties should and tax ince ntives 
explore... the most appropriate that assist not-for- 

methods of federal Support of Profit and unincorpo- 

the arts in furtherance of the rated arts actlvlties > 

, t . consideration should 

public purpose. be given to providing 

support for activities 
undertaken by commercial arts organizations that 
achieve specific public purposes. 

• Most, but not all, Assembly participants believe that it is 
essential to maintain direct funding for the arts and 
humanities at the federal level by agencies such as the 
National Endowment for the Arts. 

• Federal tax laws and regulations should be examined to 
see how they might more effectively support the arts in 
achieving public purposes. In addition, (i) the charitable 
deduction should be retained for gifts to all 501(c)(3) 
organizations, (ii) the deductibility of gifts of appreciated 
publicly traded stocks to private foundations should be 
made permanent, (iii) estate tax regulations should be 
amended to treat artists' estates in a manner similar to 
the treatment of the estates of the owners of small busi- 
nesses, and (iv) the federal government should consider 
granting waivers that would allow foundations and state 
and local agencies to make grants to groups that do not 
have 501(c)(3) status — for the purpose of stimulating 
innovative partnerships with commercial arts organi- 
zations in furtherance of public purposes, and for the pur- 
pose of providing support to unincorporated arts groups. 

5. There is a growing movement of regional, state, and local 
initiatives in support of the arts. These initiatives target the 

specific needs of the geo- 

graphic areas which they Regions, States, and 

cover. In most cases, localities should closely 

regions, states, and local- , n n -, -■ n 

... u , . n , study successful models 

lties are best informed J 

about the most effective that they might adapt 

ways to achieve public to help achieve public 
purposes in their areas. purposes 

• Regions, states, and 


localities should closely study successful models that they 
might adapt to help achieve public purposes. These 
include (i) special sales tax districts for the arts and/or 
culture (as in the greater Denver area in Colorado), (ii) 
bed taxes on hotels and motels (as in San Francisco, 
California and Columbus, Ohio), (hi) special property 
taxes (as in Aspen, Colorado and St. Louis, Missouri), and 
(iv) other taxes (as in South Dakota on gambling and in 
Huntsville, Alabama on liquor). 

• States and localities should (i) respect the tax-exempt 
status of cultural and other not-for-profit organizations, 
(ii) consider supplementing their current base of 
appropriations with permanent endowments (as in the 
case of the Missouri Cultural Trust and the Arizona 
Arts Trust Fund), and (hi) consider linking some funding 
more explicitly and directly to the pursuit of public 

• Community foundations exist at both local and regional 
levels in many parts of the country. They have unique 
capacities to identify community public purposes and 
raise and grant money to achieve them. These founda- 
tions should consider proactively establishing pools of 
funds from both public and private sources that would 
help the arts achieve public purposes in communities and 

Making the Arts More Accessible 

The arts — commercial, not-for-profit and unincorporated — are 
important both for their contributions to the public purpose and in 
themselves. This Assembly believes it is essential that all 
Americans have access to the arts at affordable cost. 

1. Distribution systems for the arts work inadequately across 
the full spectrum, putting both creative artists and the 
general public at 

disadvantage. Distribution systems for the 
impediments to the arts work inadequately. . . 

free flow of creative ... * ., ,. ,. . 

ideas and artistic P uttm £ botn creative artists 
products reduce the and the general public at 

arts sector's capaci- disadvantage. 


ty to achieve public purposes; such impediments also hurt 
the development of the arts. 

• Commercial enterprises in the fields of print and 
electronic distribution should make a greater diversity of 
art products available to the general public. An example 
is provided by the inexpensive print editions of short 
classic texts that have achieved great popularity in other 

2. Access to the live arts and to a full range of arts options 
remains a problem in communities underserved as a result 
of their geographic location. 

• Public and private funders should direct particular 
support to programs and organizations in such communi- 
ties, as should major not-for-profit organizations and 
commercial arts enterprises. A successful example of such 
a program is the Chamber Music Rural Residency 
Program of the National Endowment for the Arts. 

• Higher education institutions — often publicly support- 
ed — sometimes house the only theaters, art and film 
collections, and other arts resources in their regions. 
They should develop and improve their public outreach in 
the arts. 

3. Technology is both a boon and a challenge to making the arts 
more accessible. The "old" technologies of broadcast 
television and radio, film, and recordings have greatly 
expanded the accessibility of the arts. Now, new technologies 
(e.g., the Internet) present new opportunities and challenges 
for the production and distribution of art and information 
about the arts. 

• The arts community and public and private funders 
should promote the use of these technologies by artists, 
and encourage their availability to the public, especially 
through schools and libraries. 

Preserving the Nation's Heritage 

Preserving the arts clearly contributes to the public purpose 
inherent in maintaining the heri- ] 
tages of the nation and its many a reserving tne arts 
communities. Preserving the heri- clearly Contributes to 
tage has become increasingly th@ nublic DUTOOSe 
expensive. From Monticello to 


movie classics, modern dance documentation to book preservation, 
the challenges are much the same. 

1. There is an urgent need to develop detailed inventories of 
needs, costs, and current plans for preservation in each of 
the arts disciplines. Some arts institutions and communities 
have made notable strides in doing this and should provide 
models for others. 

• Appropriate scholarly institutions should work with 
interested business, government, and community leaders 
to discuss the feasibility of a fund (contributed to by both 
the private and public sectors) that would make such 
inventories possible. 

2. There is no effective exchange of information and no agree- 
ment on what "best practices" are in the preservation field. 

• Public advocates, private sector leaders, and specialists 
interested in the American heritage should develop a code 
of "best practices" — defining the interests and standards 
of authenticity to be met, the theories of curator ship and 
stewardship to be advanced, and the degrees of entrepre- 
neurship to be encouraged. 

3. Recognition of living treasures, of outstanding contemporary 
artists and art achievements is inadequate in the United 

• The arts community, media, and general public should 
find appropriate ways to recognize contemporary work 
and its creators as a part of America's artistic heritage. 
The national medals in the arts and humanities and the 
MacArthur Foundation fellowship awards are good 
examples of the kind. 

Improving Education and Training 

Arts education is fundamental to achieving the public purpose. 
Arts education includes education through the arts, education 
about the arts, and education in doing the arts. While arts educa- 
tion is critical for young people, life- 
long and continuing education in the ml -, , 

. u A u . , „ . There is a need to 

arts can keep adult minds growing 

and older citizens engaged and vital. Stimulate greater 

1. There is a need to stimulate attention to arts 

greater attention to arts educa- education 

tion in schools (K— 12), to assess 


the strengths and weaknesses of arts education programs, 
and to identify practical ways of improving them. 

• In some states, state arts agencies are sponsoring gather- 
ings to assess and improve the state of arts education. 
This activity should be undertaken more broadly, through 
partnerships among state arts agencies, state depart- 
ments of education, and representatives of the arts sector. 

• Foundations and other funders should continue to provide 
leadership and support to develop rigorous, sequential 
arts education programs in sample schools — identifying 
successful techniques related to specific objectives, seeing 
them implemented, and evaluating and disseminating the 
results. Examples include the J. Paul Getty Trust's initia- 
tives in arts education, and such programs as the "A+" 
schools in North Carolina and elsewhere. 

• The academic community and the arts sector should work 
together to develop joint educational programs in schools 
and in the broader society. 

• Alternative means of teacher certification should be 
developed to permit artists to contribute more regularly 
and directly to the formal educational process. 

The scope of arts education at every level should be expand- 
ed beyond the arts disciplines that are normally taught in 
schools — music, visual arts, theater, and literature. 

• The design and media arts, and dance movement, should 
be included in school curricula. 

• Media literacy programs should be encouraged, so that 
Americans of all ages may better appreciate the media as 
art forms, and better understand communications tech- 
niques and the impacts of the broadcast and electronic 
media on the democratic process and on the marketplace. 

• Educational programs should be developed on intellectu- 
al property rights, their impact on creativity, and changes 
to be considered in relation to the new technologies. 

• Educational programs on philanthropy, volunteerism, and 
the practices of a civil society should be supported and 

• Universities and arts organizations should collaborate 
in developing programs for journalists that enhance 
their understanding and coverage of public policy issues 
concerning the arts. 


3. Colleges, universities, and conservatories are major 
resources to help with arts education in schools, arts 
programming for the general public, and life-long training 
of artists. 

• These institutions should continue and expand their 
efforts (i) to provide continuing education and teaching 
materials for elementary and secondary school arts teach- 
ers; (ii) to make a variety of art (including the work of 
artists working in their areas) available to the general 
public, both live and via the media and the Internet; and 
(iii) to offer postgraduate education and in-service train- 
ing to practicing artists. 

Meeting Research, Information, and Evaluation Needs 

There is a need for research to understand better the scope, 
scale, and interactions of the commercial, not-for-profit, and 
unincorporated parts of the arts sector, the sector's supporting 
infrastructures, strengths and weaknesses within the sector, and 
the degree to which parts of the sector meet or do not meet public 

1. Currently, research, information, and evaluation efforts in 
the arts sector are fragmented and uncoordinated. Arts 
professionals and policy 

analysts seldom interact; ...research, information, 
universities and public and evaluation efforts 

policy institutes seldom .*. , , 

concern themselves with m the arts Sect ° r 

arts policy; and not-for- are fragmented and 

profit arts institutions uncoordinated. 

often lack the skills 

required to undertake research beyond rudimentary mar- 
keting studies. 

• Arts professionals and policy professionals should work 
together in the development of policy studies and 
research, especially on issues of public policy and the 
efforts of arts institutions and artists to achieve public 

• Mechanisms should be established by which industry 
trade associations and arts service organizations share 
data and research and make such information available 
to the research and policy communities. Executives of 


these associations should engage in conversations to this 

• Universities and public policy institutes should devote 
greater time and resources to issues involving the arts 
and cultural policies as they relate to other sectors and 
factors in American life. 

• Businesses should donate time for their employees to 
work with not-for-profit institutions to help them develop 
research capacities, marketing information, and business 

2. Serious and rigorous analysis and evaluation of artistic 
enterprises are in many cases lacking. Information is 
needed on how artistic enterprises operate, how they impact 
communities, and how they cooperate among themselves, 
particularly as between the commercial and not-for-profit 
worlds. Information is also needed regarding the careers 
of artists. 

• Issue analyses should be developed in the areas discussed 
in this Assembly. 

• Case studies should be prepared (i) of efforts of artists and 
arts institutions to meet public purposes, and (ii) of 
collaborations between the commercial and not-for-profit 

• Longitudinal studies of artists' careers should be pursued. 

• Better information should be gathered on the ways in 
which the arts are supported in other countries. Of 
particular importance is information on how the commer- 
cial part of the arts sector supports not-for-profit and 
unincorporated arts activities. 

• University researchers and public policy institutes should 
develop evaluation tools that can be used in assessing the 
activities of artists and arts institutions, particularly in 
order to understand better the economic and social 
impacts of the arts on communities. 

3. Comparable and centrally collected information on support 
systems relating to the arts and comprehensive arts policy 
research and study programs is lacking. 

• A national database and information clearinghouse on 
support systems and organizations covering the commer- 
cial, not-for-profit, and unincorporated parts of the arts 
sector should be developed in cooperation with those 


organizations. A central coordinator and home base 
should be identified with the assistance of interested 
professionals, possibly from an existing study center. 

• Universities and others should develop arts policy 
research and study institutes to foster the expansion of 
such research. The arts service associations should be 
included in the development of these institutes. A meeting 
of research professionals should be convened to advance 
this recommendation. 

• Federal agencies should work with scholars and trade and 
service organizations to improve federal data collection 
efforts concerning information about artists and the arts. 

Strengthening Advocacy 

It is critical that the arts be well represented in policy and leg- 
islative debates and better understood by the general public. While 
specific lobbying and other advocacy activities are necessary to 
gain attention, advocacy is every citizens job in our democracy. 
Such advocacy is, however, a two-way street. Just as the arts want 
politicians to listen to them, so the arts must listen to the politi- 
cians and understand political realities. 

1. Partnering could be an important ingredient in gaining 

political attention to, and policy 

action on, arts policy issues. Partnering COllld 

• Commercial, not-for-profit, and u e an imnortant 
unincorporated arts organiza- . A' ± ' 
tions should, as appropriate, « 

increase the resources they gaining... action 
make available for advocacy on on...arts policy 
behalf of achieving the public issues 

purposes of the arts. They 

should partner and share resources on matters of mutual 

• A single umbrella organization should be considered for 
the purpose of determining shared goals and coordinating 
strategies. Using such an organization on issues of com- 
mon concern, like intellectual property or preservation of 
artistic resources, the arts sector might find a common 
voice. On other issues, those likely to be of concern to one 


part of the sector or another, appropriate action might be 
separately taken, but alliances might be formed. 
2. One function of the arts has always been to challenge the 
conventional and to call for greater or lesser degrees of social 
change. In recent years, the challenges posed by this func- 
tion have become especially provocative in some quarters, 
causing a significant public backlash. 

• Arts advocacy should address both the provocations and 
the backlash without masking the issue. Ways to do this 
might include informed, well-staged debates around con- 
troversial issues, interactions through journals and on the 
Internet, and thoughtful media coverage. Civil debate on 
these matters, as this Assembly itself illustrated, is more 
likely to be productive than doctrinaire position-taking. 

Furthering the Dialogue 

This Assembly is a beginning. A continuing and broader dia- 
logue should be undertaken across the commercial, not-for-profit, 
and unincorporated parts of the arts sector, and leaders of other 
sectors should be engaged in this dialogue. 

1. Specially convened and targeted meetings are needed, on a 
national basis, to discuss the kinds of issues raised in this 
report and their implications for new actions. 

• Recommendations of this Assembly should be discussed at 
the annual membership meetings of commercial and not- 
for-profit associations. Representatives of associations 
present at this Assembly concurred. 

• Service organization and trade association executives 
should create a forum in which to discuss the public 
purpose goals set out in this report and activities in 
furtherance of those goals that their fields might share. 

• Producers, presenters, publishers, media professionals, 
should meet to discuss the public purpose goals set out in 
this report and activities to achieve them. 

• Business leaders should gather a group of their peers to 
consider the implications of a sector approach in the arts 
and to share new ideas and initiatives already under way 
that could provide models for action in helping achieve 
the public purposes of the arts. 


• Selected commercial arts organization executives and 
artists should meet with selected not-for-profit peers to 
begin a dialogue on common interests and to identify 
shared projects. 

• Programs should be developed to enhance the under- 
standing, tolerance, and support of the arts by religious 
leaders and similarly to , 

enhance the understand- Programs should be 
ing, tolerance, and sup- j i j i i 

' * r . ' -,.. developed to enhance 

port of religious traditions ** 

by the arts community. the understanding. . .of 
• A pool of artists should the arts by religious 
be identified to provide leaders and... the 

creative leadership to understanding... of 
continuing efforts result- , . . -. , 

ing from this Assembly. rellglOUS traditions by 

involvement of the ere- the arts community. 

ators of art is critical if 

activities in furtherance of public purposes are to be 

inspiring and effective. 
This Assembly may be the first to engage in cross-sectoral 
discussions about the public purpose of the arts. It should 
not be the last to do so. 

• Regional Assemblies should be conducted to continue the 

• A national meeting of leaders from the federal govern- 
ment and the commercial, not-for-profit, and unincorpo- 
rated parts of the arts sector, should be considered to dis- 
cuss the state of the arts in this country and how they 
might be strengthened to serve better the public purpose. 
Such a meeting could propel a national conversation on 
these issues, demonstrate the positive opportunities pro- 
vided to the nation and its leaders by the arts (as opposed 
to the problems frequently focused on), and spark collab- 
oration, formal or informal, at the highest levels. 

* * 


The days spent at this Assembly were intense, productive, and 
rewarding. There were, however, limits to the deliberations. 
Participants had to work very fast. There was diverse but incom- 
plete representation of American communities, interests, and 
fields. Although the discussions drew on the experience and 
expertise of participants, they also demonstrated that there were 
many gaps in the knowledge base about the arts sector. Despite 
those limitations, the recommendations offered do represent the 
conviction that commercial, not-for-profit, and unincorporated 
artists and organizations 

1 1 j ti n j-i comprise a single sector, that 

...the arts, all of them. ,, *\ u s A . ' , 

7 ' they nave snared interests, 

are vital to the grandest and that they can secure 

purposes Of democracy, mutual benefits through col- 

and justify the Support... laborative action. This 
Of all Americans. Assembly is convinced that 

the arts, all of them, are vital 

to the grandest purposes of 
democracy, and justify the support, attention, and involvement of 
all Americans. 




National Endowment for the Arts 
Washington, DC 


Songwriter/Recording Artist 
Nashville, TN 

Associate Professor of Economics 
Northeastern University 
Boston, MA 

Former Director 
Arts and Humanities 
The Rockefeller Foundation 
New York, NY 


Executive Director 

Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, 

New York, NY 


Founder/Artistic Director 

UCLA Cesar Chavez Center/Murale 
Digital Lab at Social and Public 
Art Resource Center (SPARC) 

Venice, CA 


Professor of Sociology 

The College of Staten Island and 

Graduate Center 
The City University of New York 
Staten Island, NY 

Contributing Editor 
The Wilson Quarterly 
Washington, DC 


Executive Director 

National Association of Artists' 

Washington, DC 

Executive Director 
New York Foundation for the Arts 
New York, NY 

Vice President 
Education, Media, Arts, and Culture 

The Ford Foundation 
New York, NY 

President Emeritus 
New York University 
New York, NY 



The Donald Byrd Dance Foundation 

Brooklyn, NY 


City of Scottsdale 
Scottsdale, AZ 



Tisch School of the Arts 

New York University 

New York, NY 

Founder and Chief Executive 

Futures Consultants 
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 




Roadside Theater/Appalshop 

Whitesberg, KY 


Creative Director and Partner 


Long Beach, CA 



State Senator 
Minnesota State Senate 
Saint Paul, MN 

Executive Editor 
New York, NY 



The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. 

New York, NY 


Debevoise & Plimpton 
Washington, DC 

Director, Cultural Studies and 

Center for Folklife Programs and 

Cultural Studies 
The Smithsonian Institution 
Washington, DC 

Vice President 
Communications and Strategic 

Nissan Motor Corporation 
Gardena, CA 



Institute of Museum and Library 

Washington, DC 


Walt Disney Theatrical Productions 

New York, NY 

Special Advisor 
American Symphony Orchestra 

Washington, DC 


Associate Professor & Fine Arts 

Department of Cooperative 

Northeastern University 
Boston, MA 


Professor of Economics and Director, 

The Mexican Center 
Institute of Latin American Studies 
The University of Texas at Austin 
Austin, TX 

Director, Culture Program 
The Pew Charitable Trusts 
Philadelphia, PA 


Senator and Chair 

Senate Special Committee on the 

Arts and Cultural Affairs 
New York State Senate 
Albany, NY 

Professor of Economics 
Graduate School of Business 
University of St. Thomas 
Minneapolis, MN 

Executive Director 
National Video Resources 
New York, NY 


Director of Community Cultural 

Chicago Department of Cultural 

Chicago, IL 

Professor of Economics 
Fordham University 
Bronx, NY 

Professor of Comparative 

Indiana University 
Bloomington, IN 


Assistant Director for Public 

National Museum of the American 

The Smithsonian Institution 
Arlington, VA 


Hodsoll and Associates 
Ridgway, CO 
Former Chair 

National Endowment for the Arts 
Washington, DC 


National Higher Education 

Correspondent and Former 

Culture Editor 
The New York Times 
New York, NY 


Vice President for Cultural 

National Public Radio 
Washington, DC 


Playwright, Screenwriter, Librettist 
Writers and Artists Agency 
New York, NY 


Country Music Foundation 
Nashville, TN 

Research Associate 
The Urban Institute 
Washington, DC 



Horatio Productions Inc. 

Pawling, NY 


Founder and Director, Arte Publico 
Press Professor, Department of 
Modern and Classical Languages 

University of Houston 

Houston, TX 


Chief Executive Officer 

The National Assembly of State Arts 

Washington, DC 

Executive Director 
Christian Performing Artists' 

Fellowships (CPAF) 
Fairfax, VA 

Salt Lake City, UT 



California Institute of the Arts 

Valencia, CA 

President and Executive Producer 
Brooklyn Academy of Music 
Brooklyn, NY 

President and Chief Executive 

Americans for the Arts 
Washington, DC 


Independent Filmmaker/Executive 

Scribe Video Center 
Philadelphia, PA 

President and Chief Operating 

Turner Entertainment Co. 
Los Angeles, CA 

Executive Director 
AT&T Foundation 
New York, NY 

Deputy Assistant to the President 

and Deputy Chief of Staff to the 

First Lady 
Office of the First Lady 
Washington, DC 



Executive Director 

National Campaign for Freedom of 

Washington, DC 



Department of Political Science 

Louisiana State University 

Baton Rouge, LA 

Research Associate 
American Enterprise Institute for 

Public Policy Research 
Brooklyn, NY 

Artist, Adjunct Professor 
Parsons School of Design 
Studio School 
New York, NY 


Arts Consultant and Researcher 
Washington, DC 


Poet Laureate of the United States 

and Professor of English and 

Creative Writing 
Boston University 
Newton, MA 

Mayor of Rock Hill 
Office of the Mayor 
Rock Hill, SC 

Preceptor and Assistant to the 
Director, Expository Writing 
Harvard University 
Boston, MA 


Former Counsel 

U.S. Senate Subcommittee 

on Education, Arts, and 

Washington, DC 


Chair, Ohio Arts Council and Chair, 

Arts Midwest 
Cleveland, OH 


Director, Americans' Use of Time 

Department of Sociology 
University of Maryland 
College Park, MD 

Executive Director 
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center 
San Antonio, TX 


President and Chief Operating 

MTV Networks 
New York, NY 

Professor of Information 

School of Information Management 

and Systems 
University of California at 

Berkeley, CA 

Vice President, Arts and 

AT&T Foundation 
New York, NY 


Council of Literary Magazines and 

The Literary Network 
New York, NY 


Executive Director 

The Howard Gilman Foundation 

New York, NY 

Opera News 
New York, NY 




The Berkshire Choral 

Sheffield, MA 

Executive Director and 

Theatre Communications Group, 

New York, NY 

Managing Director 
Cowen & Company 
New York, NY 

Art Critic, Author, and 

Fort Lee, NJ 

President and Chief Executive 

The J. Paul Getty Trust 
Los Angeles, CA 



City of Winston-Salem 

Winston-Salem, NC 

Professor of Political Science and 

Director, Arts Management 

Case Western Reserve University 
Cleveland, OH 


Associate Director 

Arts and Humanities 

The Rockefeller Foundation 

New York, NY 

* Discussion Leader 
** Rapporteur 
t Panelist 


Executive Director 
Center for Arts and Culture 
Washington, DC 


Senior Producer 

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer 

Arlington, VA 


Nonprofit Sector Consultant 
New York, NY 

Founder and President 
The Kreisberg Group Ltd. 
New York, NY 


The Arts and the Public Purpose 

Background Reading 

Edited by Joni Maya Cherbo 


Judith H. Balfe and Monnie Peters 

John Robinson and Nicholas Zill 

Commentators : Martha Bayles 

Maria-Rosario Jackson 



Margaret J. Wyszomirski 


Kevin V. Mulcahy 

Commentators : Marian Godfrey 

William Craig Rice 




Ann M. Galligan and Neil O. Alper 

Commentators : David Henry Hwang 
Steven D. Lavine 
Eric Gibson 



Charles M. Gray and James Heilbrun 

Harold L. Vogel 

Harry Hillman Chartrand 

Commentator : Patrice Flynn 



The American Assembly was established by D wight D. Eisenhower at 
Columbia University in 1950. It holds nonpartisan meetings and pub- 
lishes authoritative books to illuminate issues of United States policy. 

An affiliate of Columbia, The Assembly is a national, educational 
institution incorporated in the State of New York. 

The Assembly seeks to provide information, stimulate discussion, and 
evoke independent conclusions on matters of vital public interest. 

American Assembly Sessions 

At least two national programs are initiated each year. Authorities are 
retained to write background papers presenting essential data and 
defining the main issues of each subject. 

A group of men and women representing a broad range of experience, 
competence, and American leadership meet for several days to discuss 
the Assembly topic and consider alternatives for national policy. 

All Assemblies follow the same procedure. The background papers are 
sent to participants in advance of the Assembly. The Assembly meets in 
small groups for four or five lengthy periods. All groups use the same 
agenda. At the close of these informal sessions participants adopt in 
plenary session a final report of findings and recommendations. 

Regional, state, and local Assemblies are held following the national 
session at Arden House. Assemblies have also been held in England, 
Switzerland, Malaysia, Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Central 
America, the Philippines, and Japan. Over one hundred sixty institu- 
tions have cosponsored one or more Assemblies. 

Arden House 

The home of The American Assembly and the scene of the national 
sessions is Arden House, which was given to Columbia University in 
1950 by W. Averell Harriman. E. Roland Harriman joined his brother in 
contributing toward adaptation of the property for conference purposes. 
The buildings and surrounding land, known as the Harriman Campus of 
Columbia University, are fifty miles north of New York City. 

Arden House is a distinguished conference center. It is self-supporting 
and operates throughout the year for use by organizations with educa- 
tional objectives. The American Assembly is a tenant of this Columbia 
University facility only during Assembly sessions. 



1951 — U.S. -Western Europe Relationships 

1952— Inflation 

1953 — Economic Security for Americans 

1954 — The U.S. Stake in the U.N. • The Federal Government Service (revised 1965) 

1955— United States Agriculture • The Forty-eight States (State Government) 

1956 — The Representation of the United States Abroad (revised 1964) 

— The United States and the Far East (revised 1962) 
1957 — International Stability and Progress • Atoms for Power 
1958— The United States and Africa (revised 1963) 

— United States Monetary Policy (revised 1964) 
1959 — Wages, Prices, Profits, and Productivity 

— The United States and Latin America (revised 1963) 
1960 — The Federal Government and Higher Education • The Secretary of State 
1961 — Arms Control: Issues for the Public 

— Outer Space: Prospects for Man and Society (revised 1968) 
1962 — Automation and Technological Change 

— Cultural Affairs and Foreign Relations (revised 1968) 
1963 — The Population Dilemma (revised 1969) • The United States and the Middle East 
1964 — The United States and Canada • The Congress and America's Future (rev. 1973) 
1965 — The Courts, the Public, and the Law Explosion 

— The United States and Japan (revised 1975) 
1966 — The United States and the Phillippines • State Legislatures in American Politics 

— A World of Nuclear Powers? • Challenges to Collective Bargaining 
1967 — The United States and Eastern Europe • Ombudsmen for American Government? 
1968 — Law in a Changing America • Uses of the Seas • Overcoming World Hunger 
1969 — Black Economic Development • The States and the Urban Crisis 
1970 — The Health of Americans • The United States and the Caribbean 
1971 — The Future of American Transportation • Public Workers and Public Unions 
1972 — The Future of Foundations • Prisoners in America 
1973 — The Worker and the Job • Choosing the President 

1974 — The Good Earth of America • On Understanding Art Museums • Global Companies 
1975 — Law and the American Future • Women and the American Economy 
1976 — The Nuclear Power Controversy • Jobs for Americans 

— Capital for Productivity and Jobs 
1977 — Ethics of Corporate Conduct • The Performing Arts and American Society 
1978 — Running the American Corporation • Race for the Presidency 
1979 — Energy Conservation and Public Policy • Disorders in Higher Education 
1980 — Youth Employment and Public Policy • The Economy and the President 

— The Farm and the City • Mexico and the United States 
1981 — The China Factor • Military Service in the United States 

— Ethnic Relations in America 
1982 — The Future of American Political Parties • Regrowing the American Economy 
1983 — Financial Services • Technological Innovation in the '80s 

1984 — Alcoholism and Related Problems • The Arts and Public Policy in the United States 
1985 — Canada and the United States • The Promise of Tax Reform 
1986 — East-West Tensions in the Third World • World Population and U.S. Policy 
1987 — Health Care and Its Costs • A Workable Government? The U.S. Constitution 
1988— Global Competitiveness 
1 989— America's Global Interests 
1990— The Global Economy 
1991 — Preserving The Global Environment • Tort Law and the Public Interest 

— Public Money & the Muse 
1992 — Rethinking America's Security • From Occupation to Cooperation: The United States & 

United Germany • After the Soviet Union 
1993 — Interwoven Destinies: Cities and the Nation • Engaging the Public in U.S. Foreign 

1994 — The United States and Japan in Asia: Challenges for U.S. Policy 

— U.S. Intervention Policy for the Post-Cold War World 
1995 — Threatened Peoples, Threatened Borders: World Migration and U.S. Policy 

— U.S. Foreign Policy and the United Nations System 
1997 — Living with China: U.S./China Relations in the Twenty-First Century • Africa & U.S. 

National Interests 
1998— The Arts and the Public Purpose 

— U.S. Interests in the Western Hemisphere 


( Thz American ttssembCy 

Columbia University 


Arthur G. Altschul 
Charles Benton 
Bradley Currey, Jr. 
Meyer Feldberg, ex officio 
Ellen V. Futter 
David R. Gergen 
Roberto C. Goizueta 
Bill Green 
Karen Elliott House 
B.R. Inman 
Sol M. Linowitz 
John F. McGillicuddy 
Donald F. McHenry 
David H. Mortimer 
Raymond D. Nasher 
George E. Rupp, ex officio 
Fayez Sarofim 
Daniel A. Sharp, ex officio 


Paul A. Volcker 
Frank A. Weil 
Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. 

New York 



New York 

New York 

District of Columbia 


New York 

New York 


District of Columbia 

New York 

District of Columbia 

New York 


New York 



New York 

New York 

New York 

New York 


Daniel A. Sharp, President 

DAVID H. MORTIMER, Vice President 
ELEANOR H. TeJIRIAN, Secretary-Treasurer 

Trustees Emeriti 
William Block 
William P. Bundy 
Clifford M. Hardin 
Kathleen H. Mortimer 
Eleanor Bernert Sheldon 
Clarence C. Walton 

New Jersey 
New York 
New York 

The American Assembly 

475 Riverside Drive, Suite 456 • New York, NY 10115 

Telephone (212) 870-3500 Fax (212) 870-3555