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Accessibility of the Arts in America

The fight against death of the arts.
by

Kelsey Murphy

on 7 May 2010

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Transcript of Accessibility of the Arts in America

Realistcally,
If you are reading this then you most likely: A. Attend Cornish College of the Arts and are one of my classmates. B. Are employed at Cornish College of the Arts and are one of my instructors. C. Are one of my friends or family and are subjected to my art school projects frequently. D. Are my stalker who goes to all sorts of websites entering my emails to see if I have accounts on them. Don't go thinking you haven't been noticed, I have a nice industrial can of mace waiting for you when you finally get the guts to address me in person. :-) If you are not one of the aforementioned people, I have no clue how you got here,but welcome! Anyway... Most of you are similar to me in the fact that we grew up appreciating and even practicing the arts. And although America has strong art community relatively speaking... This was a performance art piece done on the Freemont Bridge last September, btw. ...The arts are not as strong as they could be here. Also with the current lifestyle of the general American public, the arts as we know them are in danger of extinction. I believe the biggest problem with the arts in America is ACCESSIBILITY But before we get too carried away here... Allow me to explain what
I mean by "The General Public" When I say, "the general Public," I'm reffering to... That's right! has A wife, 2.5 kids, A 40 hour per week job (which is usually more about 50), A Quaint, but nice house, that will need renovations in about 6 months due to a poorly built foundation, An arthritic dog, Electricity, water, internet, cable, cellphone, medical, veterinarian, and creditcard bills, And A mountain of debt. Bob Let me tell you a bit about Bob. Having said that, it is understood that Bob is not just like everyone else in the general American public. Likewise, not everyone is just like Bob. However, there are millions of families very similar to Bob's family in this country with similar interests as well. So for the sake of clarity, when I speak about the Bob, I mean the genral public. So why isn't Bob participating more in the arts? And we go back to... Accessibility Issue no. 1: Awareness The arts do not have enough advertising and promotion from our media. People are not supporting the arts as much because they are not aware of the arts and what is going on in the arts community. When was the last time you saw a good commercial for a museum or opera? A commercial that made you want to get tickets right away? Would Bob be interested in this event? Accessibility Issue No. 2: Affordability In America, being an audience member of the arts (i.e. going to plays, concerts, ballets, and other art venues) is often associated with being wealthy. There are so many art events out there. Can you really afford to fork over $25 a week to go experience a new work? Can Bob justify buying tickets for his whole family frequently? Will he think that these events are a good use of his hard earned money? Accessibility Issue No. 3: Connecting The classical arts are not connecting with the interests of the general public as effectively as they used to. The technological advances humankind have affected the way people receive and process information immensely. People have become accustomed to fast and efficient ways of learning or being entertained. The public seems to be infatuated with the idea of instant gratification...
Interests Interests Interests Interests Interests Interests Interests Jay David Bolter Suggests:
"The distinction between high culture and popular culture has all but vanished. If one click of the mouse will take a Web surfer to Project Gutenberg, a textual repository of the 'classics' (www.gutenberg.net September 6, 1999), another click will take her to sites for current Hollywood movies or popular music on CD or to ostensibly marginal sites for body art or homeopathy. The ease and equality of access to all various forms of cultural representation (including pornography) appall traditionalists... An unwillingness to distinguish between high art and popular entertainment has long been a feature of American culture, and we have chosen to accelerate this trend in Web and other new media forms." Whether Bob is having difficulty distinguishing between high art and cultural entertainment or not... Is it any surprise that entertainment is about as important, if not more so, as the classical arts to Bob? Will he judge an hour trying to decipher the meaning behind an indie film as time well spent? Or will he appreciate relaxing from his work day by watching a movie on netflix: instant play more? Though bob could probably spend more time culturing himself and his family, the problem isn't that bob is lazy or stupid The problem is that the information gained from these types of art aren't seen as functional to bob e meanings from these arts are not only functionally inaccessible to bob, they probably aren't accessible to the majority bob's friends and family either. So how do we change this view on the arts? Accessory Solution to Awareness http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16298/16298-h/16298-h.htm Jay David Bolter, Writing Culture, Page 57 The arts need more funding (both for the events themselves and advertising them in mainstream media) from our government. Whether they wish to admit it or not people are influenced a great deal by the advertising in the media. Having frequent commercials for these arts events on our popular television channels coupled with a bigger budget for better productions will encourage people to atten the events more. More funding for the arts in education will help children start appreciating and become interested in the arts at an early age also. If arts are promoted in schools, the kids will be more likely to become supporters of the arts when they grow older. Solution to Affordability With government funding, hopefully cheaper tickets can be arranged for arts events. Also, more digital versions of the classical arts should be made. Not only would digital versions aid in the preservation aspect of the arts, but this would also allow for more people to experience these events in the comfort of their own home for a cheaper price. Possibly, a program like iArts (The program would be similar to iTunes, so that it would be friendly. The program would also include images and videos as well to incorporate visual arts, theater, and dance.) might be a good, accessible, user-friendly solution. Only the details of piracy may need to be revamped in order to protect the “smaller” artists. Solution to Audience connection Artists need to understand that while specific audiences will connect more to “advanced” types of art, the general public often will not. It is important to engage the general public frequently because the art community requires their support just as much as those who are already targeted for art. In order to do so, the artist needs to make their art interesting, entertaining, and/or clear in meaning. Something that will appeal to people like Bob. We need to cultivate more participants before we can focus on artistic “indulgence.” So you probably already aggree with me that the arts are important. Whether you are a Cornish affiate, a friend, family, a stalker, or stranger. But let's conclude this rant by contemplating for a bit on why they are important. The arts allow people to creatively express themselves. Practicing creativity improves problem solving. And most importantly, art frequently analyses the world on an emotional level, which tends to keep morals and humanity in check. Aficionados shouldn't be the only ones participating in arts; Art should be something shared by all human beings. Like Bob!
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