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Cultural Policy & Advocacy in the US


Units: 6


Arts and cultural leaders in the United States operate in complex environments with public policies at the local, state and national levels that influence operations and artistic creations. What are these policies? Who makes, implements, and enforces them? How are new policies developed and why? How can policies be changed? This course will provide students with the foundation to understand the context of cultural policy in the United States and how advocacy efforts can influence policy change. Students will have an opportunity to consider current arts policy issues as they examine a number of topics, including: a brief history of arts and cultural policy in the United States; the structure for federal, state, and local funding for arts and culture; matters of artistic freedom and censorship in the arts; the role of cultural policy in social justice, job creation, education, and placemaking; cultural equity and cultural diplomacy; innovative cultural policy funding mechanisms; and current efforts to measure cultural vitality. Students will understand, articulate, evaluate, and advocate for cultural policies to benefit all stakeholders.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Articulate key questions and responses related to cultural values, cultural policy matters, and advocacy efforts in the United States
  2. Describe the history, structure, and policy arena for the arts in the United States and the challenges faced in its history
  3. Critique NEA opposition leaders and argue in favor of public funding for the arts in the United States
  4. Defend funding mechanisms and cultural policies that promote cultural equity, support creative industries, and define place
  5. Evaluate existing cultural policy, examine indicators of its success, and suggest policy improvements by preparing a persuasive policy brief and “pitch”

Prerequisites Description

No pre-requisites needed, however 93-703 Arts Enterprises: Management and Structures is helpful. Permission from the instructor may be required for undergraduate students interested in the course.