Sunday, January 03, 2010

a poor player » Blog Archive » What’s all the fuss about? (Or why the NEA study shows how successful we are!):

From the responses:

But what about the data that has shown that while, as the NEA study shows, arts attendance is down, that sport events have lost audience at nearly twice that rate and that movies at four times? That all leisure activities are showing declines, arts participation actually showing the least amount of decline and that the main difference is that the arts required a live event while sports and movie attendance compete with home viewing and alternative distribution?

And I’m so glad we look at a narrow window at the beginning of the last century to compare today’s theater industry to. Let’s not look at the centuries of essentially commercial theater created for the upper echelon’s of society as the rule, instead we’ll look to the small period of time when, because it was valued by that elite that still had money in a global depression, they saw to infuse cash into the production system because they had it and they thought it was important.

Should we point out that this white upper middle class is about 80% of the united states demographically?

(Really? 80% of the country is upper middle class?)

Should we point out that 1/3 of the people in the US live in the top 10 urban areas, each at 5 million people or above?

So you’re saying that those making theater, the majority of which by law of numbers are going to be white and from comfortable families, shouldn’t be looking at trying to work in urban centers, where the people live? And that by those numbers, they shouldn’t be making theater that appeals to the largest swath of that local population when In fact the numbers say that those working in theater are doing a pretty good job compared to other live leisure experiences?

Theater, aside from this utopian ideal you cling to from our most for-the-people era, has been for elites, just like every other art form. And as we move from that to a more open system ruled by the masses instead of a commissioning ruling cultural class, maybe it’s a good thing we’re training a audience in college, because we keep cutting the funding in compulsory education.