America has for years been tagged; land of the free, home of the brave. The truth of that tag line is tested regularly as the country evolves. For better or worse, America remains a young country with an evolving landscape and identity.
Relative to cultural arts as part of the fiber of our nation, we have historically done well. American arts leading the way globally, allowing citizens to take pride, pursue careers and succeed. From fashion to architecture, visual arts and performing arts, controversial or emerging studies, classic and modern, American people, American talent, has been passionate, cultivated, recognized, and rewarded.
America is in turmoil. Regardless of what side of any argument one person finds themselves, the fact is that cultural arts are in the throws of enormous challenges.
Leadership in America no longer advocates to develop or support the cultural arts as a part of national heritage or education. Cultural arts in America is no longer embedded in the future plans for our “land of the free”.
Access to the arts is increasingly unaffordable, inaccessible, privatized, and elitist. It’s likely to get worse.
A fact of survival for cultural arts organizations and artists, is an increased need for funding from the private and corporate sectors.
The erosion of funding for the arts has always been a challenge. Today, its simply catastrophic, a prerequisite for choosing a career in this sector “only brave need apply”.
Arts organizations in America are destined to shrink, in many cases rapidly. The future survival of any organization is dependent on shifting business models, new attitudes about revenue generation, and cost of services. This means increased selection of what and who succeeds based on new commercialized standards for business practices.
In the land of the free, cultural arts is about to have a new price tag. Welcome to the land of the not so free.