Art and entertainment constitute America’s second-largest export. Most Americans—96%, to be exact—are somehow involved in the arts, whether as audience participants, hobbyists, or via broadcast, recording, video, or the Internet. The contribution of the arts to the U.S. economy is stunning: the nonprofit arts industry alone contributes over 857 billion dollars per year, and America’s fine and performing arts enjoy world-class status.
Despite its size, quality, and economic impact, the arts community is not articulate about how they serve public interests, and few citizens have an appreciation of the myriad of public policies that influence American arts and culture. The contributors to this volume argue that U.S. policy can—and should—support the arts and that the arts, in turn serve a broad rather than an elite public. Indeed, increased support for the arts and culture equals good economic and trade policy; it also contributes to the quality of life and community, and helps sustain the creativity of American artists and organizations.
By encouraging policy-makers to systematically start investigating the crucial role and importance of all of the arts in the United States, The Arts and Public Purpose moves the field forward with fresh ideas, new concepts, and important new data.