Occupy the Arts

Poll: Elitism in the Arts?

Anthony Tommasini’s “Occupy the Arts, a Seat at a Time” in Sunday’s New York Times, has started heated discussions in some quarters about the issue of social equality as it relates to the arts. That article cited the many concerts in New York City and elsewhere in the U.S. that are offered either free or at very low cost, adding, “Classical music has struggled for a long time to fight the perception — an unfair perception — that it is elitist and inaccessible… As we try to grasp what the committed Occupy Wall Street activists are saying to the performing arts, can we all agree to put aside at last the charge of elitism?”

Diane Ragsdale, in her January 2 blog at ArtsJournal, takes a different tack on the issue. “What arouses allegations that fine arts organizations are elitist is not (primarily) that their ticket prices are sometimes high, but rather that they are (more often than not) governed by a select group of (generally wealthy, well-educated, and often white) people whose beliefs and tastes are presumed to be ‘the best’ and therefore, good for society as a whole” In her blog post, Ragsdale cites a recent conversation she had with Russell Willis Taylor of National Arts Strategies, about census statistics indicating that 1 in 2 people in the U.S. are living at the poverty level. “Attending a fine arts event in the U.S. one steps into a world that seems to be (and often is) completely out of touch with the reality of that census statistic.” [italics by Ragsdale]

What do you think? Share your views in the poll below, and feel free to add additional comments below.

How should arts groups respond to perceptions of elitism?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


This reader-discussion forum is intended for debating and developing ideas presented in SymphonyNOW. We ask that you be respectful of other posters and do not post any material that contains advertising or is defamatory, infringing, obscene, pornographic, abusive, or otherwise unlawful. Please try to post messages that relate to the topic at hand and avoid frivolous, repetitive, or excessively lengthy posts. We reserve the right to remove the posting privileges of members who violate these standards of decorum at any time.