Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Blending Politics and Art

Washington Performing Arts does a lot of wonderful and unique things, and is a primary staple in the DC arts culture. But they’re up to something new, and I happen to think it’s very cool. This year, they’ve launched the Mars Urban Arts Initiative- sponsored by Mars, Inc., they’re taking the arts (mostly performing arts) to the urban scene to connect with the DC area in completely new ways. It kicked off this year with a puppetry theme. Patrons built their own puppets, went to “Puppet slams” (like poetry slams), and it culminated with a collaborative performance at the Kennedy Center between a classical pianist and a world-famous marionette troupe. Cool.

But they’re at it again. Next week, they’re hosting an even called Politics and Art. Held at Councilmember David Grosso’s office in collaboration with ARTS ACTION DC, they’re inviting performing artists of all types from all over the area to come to a giant jam session while networking with local and elected officials and other performing artists.

As you know, Grosso assembled an arts task force across the arts community in DC —” to create a unified, collaborative framework for advocating for our field (instead of just organization by organization),” said President and CEO Jenny Bilfield. “He shared with us recently, that when he ran for office many different constituents sent questions for the candidates to answer; none came from the arts community.”

40 groups have now come together to create ARTS ACTION DC, to advocate for support and visibility for the arts community in the city. I’m personally glad that such a well-known organization is leading the way in this important prospect, and I think as arts managers, we should jump on board.

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2 comments on “Blending Politics and Art

  1. alexgilbertschrag
    November 12, 2014

    Art seems to have become distanced from politics. Where art used to be a way of describing the political turmoil going on in society, it’s now separated from the idea. Also, as art institutions, we often struggle with getting funding from government. The idea of courting and becoming more involved within politics might help arts organizations to survive. Rediscovering the connection between art and politics might help everyone involved.

    I think it’s great that WPA is taking the initiative to start things like the Mars Urban Arts Initiative. Also allowing artists to network with political representatives will help them to connect and better make understood what their needs are. I think this is a great change!

  2. shrulala
    November 14, 2014

    I’m excited to hear about this initiative I would love to join the movement. I really admire the power of a collective voice and how it make a change! Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

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