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Government Funding of Culture: What Price the Arts?
Michael S. Joyce
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 471, Paying for Culture (Jan., 1984), pp. 27-33
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. in association with the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1044132
Page Count: 7
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The immediate challenge to the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities is not financial but philosophical. Government responsibility for culture must include an explicit statement of policy based upon a careful consideration of essential questions concerning the nature of and relationship between the state and culture. In the past the Endowments have been reluctant to enunciate a cultural policy lest it be objected that talk of a cultural policy sounds like a call for an autocratic ministry of culture. But grants cannot be made in a vacuum, and some cultural policy, however incoherent, inevitably informs decisions about grants. The issue is whether such a policy is to be made explicit, so that it may be studied and criticized, or whether such a policy is tacit, in which case it is likely to be enforced with little public scrutiny or evaluation. The federal government-responsible to both the individual and the nation, to the present and the future-has a unique role to play in American culture. What the role is can be defined only through the political process, in open debate.
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science © 1984 American Academy of Political and Social Science