Arts, Inc.: How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed our Cultural Rights
Bill Ivey on the state of the arts in America
In this impassioned and persuasive book, Bill Ivey, the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, assesses the current state of the arts in America and finds cause for alarm. Even as he celebrates our ever-emerging culture and the way it enriches our lives here at home while spreading the dream of democracy around the world, he points to a looming crisis. The expanding footprint of copyright, an unconstrained arts industry marketplace, and a government unwilling to engage culture as a serious arena for public policy have come together to undermine art, artistry, and cultural heritage—the expressive life of America. In eight succinct chapters, Ivey blends personal and professional memoir, policy analysis, and deeply held convictions to explore and define a coordinated vision for art, culture, and expression in American life.
At a time when international polls show doubts about America, our art and culture are a crucial resource for our soft power. Bill Ivey does a wonderful job of explaining the importance of art as a public issue. —Joseph S. Nye, Jr., author of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics
A profoundly important diagnosis by perhaps America’s best-qualified critic of the harm to our culture caused by overregulation and inadequate support. Ivey has given us a rich and beautifully written warning about the culture we’re losing, and a powerful and historically compelling image of a culture that could be.—Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law School
Walt Whitman was democracy’s eloquent poet who understood that democracy is not just a form of government but a way of life rooted in culture. Bill Ivey is culture’s eloquent advocate who knows that as democracy needs the arts, the arts need the advocacy of government. His manifesto Arts, Inc. is a passionate attack on the commercialization of culture and a plea for a cultural bill of rights that will restore to all Americans their right to a heritage, to creative expression and to a creative life. This is not just a vital book about the arts, but a vital book about democracy. —Benjamin R. Barber, author of Jihad vs. McWorld and Consumed
Bill Ivey has written a thoughtful and thought-provoking book on the state of the arts in America today. He tracks our loss of heritage and risk-taking and comments cogently on the past culture wars. His discussion of the corporate hijacking of intellectual property is highly articulate and should be read by everyone.—Jane Alexander
You don’t have to agree with all his conclusions to recognize that Bill Ivey’s Arts, Inc. is an important book. It’s a must-read for all those interested in American art and culture and the public interest in preserving access to our heritage for everyone, and as it contributes to the arts of today and tomorrow.—Frank Hodsoll
Arts, Inc. is the first comprehensive effort to explore the role and potential of a coordinated vision for art, culture, and expression in American public life. Through strands of personal and professional memoir, policy analysis, for-profit and nonprofit industry insights, and personal conviction, Bill Ivey defines a new canvas for more productive and inclusive conversations on the expressive life of our nation and its citizens.—Andrew Taylor, Bolz Center for Arts Administration, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Very few observers of the contemporary U.S. and global arts worlds have Bill Ivey’s capacity for first-hand examples of how trade representatives, artists, music executives, corporate attorneys, elected officials, non-profit executives and many other participants influence the course of the arts, and in particular, the public’s access to the arts. Arts, Inc. is an important work because it asserts, in a very thoughtful and urgent manner, that Americans have a right to a better expressive life.—John Kreidler, retired Executive Director, Cultural Initiatives Silicon Valley
Learn more about the Ovation TV series and watch the videos. Ovation TV debuts “Arts in America – Web Series,” stemming from the panel discussion on Bill’s book, Arts Inc., recently held at the CORE club in New York City. The web series provides a forum for ongoing discussion of the issues raised in the book. Veteran blogger Rob Bettman will lead the conversation.