What Do We Need From Artists And What Do Artists Need From Us

Last week Laura Zabel, Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts, has a piece on CityLab discussing the contributions artists can bring to pandemic recovery. She references a report issued by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that lays out policies to better support cultural organizations and workers. I haven’t read the report yet, but the title “Art is Work,” seems like a pretty good start. Near the close of her article Zabel writes along those same lines.

Artists’ contributions to the work of imagining and enacting a healthier future can be profound, but they do not come about by magic. Art is labor, and unless we build better and more equitable systems of support for artists, we will continue to miss out on this vital ingredient to help build a more just, more connected, and more human world.

The general theme of the article deals with the ability of arts projects to help solve problems, permit people to confront difficult issues, and learn about unfamiliar topics.  She mentions a number of projects that have been mounted to address immigration, communities split by construction projects and economic stability that may serve as inspiration for similar projects in your communities.


About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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