Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

When the Arts Support a Revolution

Frankly I enjoy moments of small coincidences. This weekend per the recommendation of a colleague I attended the screening of Art War at E Street Cinema with a classmate. The film focused on the lives of various artists who used their medium to support the Egyptian Revolution. It was a well done film that captured the highs and lows of using your art to make a statement as well as the statement they wanted their art to make and their thoughts on each other’s works.  It showed the artists who were successful and one who was struggling to gain traction. The United States Institute of Peace just had a panel discussion/podcast on the role of music as non-violent action in a conflict. I really like the quote the author, Viola Geinger, highlighted from Maria Stephen, USIP’s Academy’s Senior Policy Fellow and industry hot shot: “There needs to be investment in this area, not because it’s `touchy feely, kumbaya,’ but because arts, music and culture are powerful amplifiers of non-violent action and peacebuilding.” I think this is such a powerful intersection and one that needs to be capitalized on by arts managers and not just the peacebuilders.

This such an interesting coincidence that my job focused on the roles of the arts in conflict and I saw a film in the same week on the subject. The Arab Spring has had several examples of this, and we can look at the art on the Berlin Wall. How do we as arts managers fit into this discussion and support these artists? More importantly, how do we fit in with protecting the artists once we have showcased them? The director of the film talked about some of the reactions in a post show Q&A and what actions were taken to protect the artists. I’m curious what my colleagues thoughts are on this intersection and also on the supportive and protective steps we can take.


2 comments on “When the Arts Support a Revolution

  1. sarasps85
    October 17, 2014

    Public art has an important role here: the Berlin wall and Israel-Palestine Wall are examples among others. This week I read a paper on the role of street art and “the war on terror”. It´s a very interesting read:

    Furthermore, I also thought about it because of what´s happening in HK at the moment. Different artists are already working on the matter.

  2. gormleykimberly
    October 21, 2014

    Before coming to AU I worked as an art consultant, and our clients would constantly request “art that wasn’t too political”. Nothing made me bang my head on my desk harder. Good art, the art worth buying, the art worth loving, is made with passion, and politics are incredibly impassioned. I grew so fed up with the request that my office mug (my favorite!) was printed with the phrase ” Everything is art. Everything is politics”. Artists making political art are our visual history writers. Not protecting them would be like not protecting journalists or heads of state: reckless and shortsighted.

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