Curb Center Conference, Happiness, a High Quality of Life and the Role of Art and Art Making, May 31-June 2, 2007
From May 31 through June 2, 2007, the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and
Public Policy hosts a unique gathering of writers and thinkers at the Pocantico
Conference Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in Tarrytown, New York.
“Happiness and a High Quality of Life: The Role of Art and Art Making” explores
two key questions: Do art and art-making have a special role in creating happiness and
a high quality of life in Western society? If so, how should public policy be shaped and
deployed to strengthen those connections? Although a number of prominent arts
specialists participate in the gathering, the conference bypasses the questions of
funding and leadership that constitute a conventional arts agenda, focusing instead on
questions of human happiness, satisfaction, and meaning in life as framed by experts
in the fields of psychology, sociology, history, medicine, anthropology, folklore,
literature, and other disciplines. The meeting is supported by grants from the
Rockefeller Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Although a number of meeting participants are charged in advance with the
task of initiating discussion on specific topics, no formal papers are prepared.
Inevitably, the discussion circles back to touch on the same issues from different
perspectives, and conversation frequently raises as many questions as are answered.
Although well-versed in the relationship between happiness and family, work, and
spiritual life, participants are clearly advancing into new territory, as they tentatively
identified those distinctive elements of the arts and art-making that might lead to
happiness and a high quality of life. Both the meeting and this report are intended to
be preliminary. Nevertheless, the conversation is promising; as attendees concluded
their Pocantico meeting, there was general agreement that the two-day consideration
of the connections between art and a high quality of life pointed the way to both
further conversation and specific research.
Read the full report: