Cultural Policy in U.S. History

by Don Adams and Arlene Goldbard

© Copyright Adams & Goldbard 1986, 1995



Ideals and Myths

Ideas about culture have played an important part in United States history from the earliest days of European settlement. The actions which first brought the United States into being embodied assumptions about the nature of citizenship, of cultural rights, and of cultural life itself. Early American settlers were motivated by visions of a utopia in the New World free from the constraints of the Old. This heritage of hope and idealism still figures in our national mythology today.

But from the first, American utopianism was flawed by its treatment of the cultures indigenous to the New World. Our government's cultural policy has been complex, but one theme has been unfortunately persistent: the suppression of cultural diversity, from Indian removal to urban redevelopment.

Our official mythology glosses the mistakes of the past, implying that a lot of eggs have to be broken to make the world's biggest omelette. But failing to acknowledge our errors, failing to be self-critical, makes us apologists for the present order rather than agents of positive change. Knowing where we come from is the first step to taking a new direction.

The American Indian Genocide

The decimation of indigenous American Indian cultures, beginning five centuries ago, is still being whitewashed by textbooks and movies. There were many friendly and close relationships between early settlers and native peoples, but these were not the main current in our relations. U.S. history is blighted by acts of genocide against native people, exacerbated by the fatal impact of new diseases spread by contact between new settlers and native Americans. Many aggressive attempts were made to reshape the Indian peoples according to European cultural models, whether under threat of death or, later, through exile to government boarding schools.

Government policies, well-documented elsewhere {1}, guided the destruction and containment of native American cultures, culminating in the problematic status of Indian people today. Despite this historical backdrop, there has been only the most begrudging admission of any public responsibility for the damage done to native American cultures. Little public support has gone to efforts to preserve, retrieve and build upon native cultural traditions. Where affirmative steps are called for, none has been taken. Chief among the U.S. government's initiatives toward native peoples has been the reservation -- remarkably like the former South African "homelands." The current laissez-faire federal policy pretends that Native American cultures are now free to enjoy an even chance in our society, to compete for resources with dominant cultural forms and traditions. The official alternative to the reservation has been pressure to assimilate into the mainstream culture.

Through much of the time that Native American peoples have endured this cultural combat, the idea of "the Indian" has been a powerful symbol within our national culture. We usually see Indian people portrayed as brutal and warmongering, worthy of punishment at the hands of white settlers and the U.S. government. Nevertheless, Indian influences on contemporary United States culture are extensive. In Hollywood films and western novels and "cowboy art," Indians have symbolized connectedness and sensitivity to nature (and the loss of the wilderness), highly developed skills, and individual courage. The "new age" philosophies which emerged from the 1960's depend heavily on traditional Indian knowledge; within their frameworks, Native Americans symbolize balance, inner wisdom, ordeal and transcendent experience, and natural dignity. Recently, Native American activists have done much to revitalize their cultural traditions. Assimilationism has lost some of the attraction it had in the past. But history cannot be undone.

The New "American Culture"

Until the first huge waves of immigration of the 19th Century, the fledgling nation's white population was largely northern European and Protestant. Its leadership was imbued with the Enlightenment principles embodied in our Bill of Rights -- though applying these principles very selectively indeed, mainly to the community of white male property owners. The values of the Enlightenment, as interpreted by the first American political philosophers, emphasized protection of individual liberties and preservation of private initiative against the potential tyranny of state power. Though such cultural issues as education, suffrage, and slavery were subjects of heated public debate, the government took a hands-off attitude that effectively favored those with power.

This emphasis upon individual liberties has been counterbalanced throughout United States history by a contrary tradition of communitarian practice and values. Barn-raisings, mutual aid at harvest time and in the face of floods or blizzards, mistrust of distant political leaders -- these too are part of the cultural heritage evoked by the phrase 'American culture.' These values, though, are not granted the same status under law as personal liberties and property rights. In periods of red-baiting and witch-hunting, they sometimes sound a little too close to socialism for comfort.

Historically, the white, male population held the political reins. But U.S. culture was also profoundly affected by the substantial black population brought to American shores through the trade in African slaves. The first slave cargo arrived in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1619, one year before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock {2}. Racist attitudes became rigidified in the 18th Century as the whole economy and social structure of the South came to depend upon slavery. The issue of slavery was the subject of heated debate at each stage of the country's creation and continued as such into the Civil War. Slave masters urgently needed to create religious, moral, scientific and political justifications for slavery. This mythology of racism survived and flourished after the Civil War, embellished with pseudo-biology, makeshift theology, and mumbo-jumbo psychology through the 19th and 20th centuries. {3}

The dominant white social consensus was not significantly threatened until well after the Civil War. When more diverse immigrant groups began to appear in increasing numbers, those who saw themselves as "true Americans" became alarmed. Fear of foreign ideas and unfamiliar cultural practices led to aggressive limitations on immigration, barring "undesirable" national groups from immigrating, placing quotas on other groups. Racist attitudes once deployed primarily against American blacks and native people were adapted to apply to white ethnic, Asian and Latin American groups new to the United States.

Heating Up the Melting Pot

Official policies discriminating against minorities were encouraged and exacerbated by vigilante actions intended to assert the rights of "real Americans." The Ku Klux Klan was born from Southern whites' desire to secure the antebellum racial order temporarily disrupted by post-Civil War Reconstruction policies; the Klan later turned its attention to Catholic and Jewish immigrants as well. From the late 19th Century, U.S. history was punctuated by mob frenzy against various minority elements within the larger culture --the anti-Chinese violence in California being a particularly egregious example, alongside the notorious lynch mobs of the turn-of-the-century South -- challenging the mythos of a nation where "all...are created equal."

The crucial period around the beginning of this century -- fraught with racist and anti-immigrant violence -- produced an idea that has since been central to our national cultural vision. Israel Zangwill, an English Jew, described his vision of the emerging American culture in his 1908 play, The Melting Pot. Gazing at the silhouette of the Statue of Liberty, two Russian immigrants -- he a Jewish composer, she a Christian settlement house worker -- articulate the vision of a new American culture:

VERA: Look! How beautiful the sunset is after the storm!

DAVID: It is the fire of God round His crucible. There she lies, the great Melting-Pot -- listen! Can't you hear the roaring and the bubbling? There gapes her mouth [he points east] -- the harbor where a thousand mammoth feeders come from the ends of the world to pour in their human freight. Ah, what a stirring and a seething! Celt and Latin, Slav and Teuton, Greek and Syrian -- black and yellow --

VERA: Jew and Gentile --

DAVID: Yes, East and West, North and South, the palm and the pine, the pole and the equator, the crescent and the cross -- how the mighty Alchemist melts and fuses them with his purging flame! Here shall they all unite to build the Republic of Man and the Kingdom of God...{4}

The melting pot has been a richly ambiguous symbol ever since. It nods to the principal characteristic of American culture today: its internal diversity. But it also embodies the main flow of our country's history, away from these roots -- seen as outdated remnants of the old world -- and into the great, homogenizing melting pot.

The development of a self-conscious American culture in this century has been discussed in reams of analysis of the American character and The American Dream. Assisted by a social science eager to help set standards of normality, many of our institutions embody the idea of an American Way of Life. Urban settlement houses, for example, helped to "Americanize" the new immigrants in urban ghettos; rural extension services spread ideas about how to eat, dress and behave to country-dwellers. Some of these agencies, and some of the pioneers of adult education, were interested in preserving cultural diversity. But far more emphasis overall was placed upon preparing immigrants for successful assimilation. Philanthropists helped to establish museums, libraries, orchestras and other cultural institutions that could provide guidance to initiates into the dominant culture.

The Birth of Cultural Democracy

These contradictions between assimilationism and diversity led to the earliest references we have found to cultural democracy. J. Drachsler has been credited with this distinction, in his 1920 book Democracy and Assimilation: The Blending of Immigrant Heritages in America. Arguing that individuals and communities could decide for themselves whether and to what extent heritage cultures would be maintained, Drachsler called for cultural democracy as a complement to the values of economic and political democracy. Writing 20 years later, W.E.B. DuBois invoked cultural democracy as the social commitment needed to unseat racism in the United States. {5}

Horace Kallen, a professor at the New School for Social Research, an institution with deep roots in New York City's immigrant cultures, wrote passionately of the importance of cultural pluralism. Alarmed at the extent of Klan-type organizing in the 1910's, he wrote

...Cultural growth is founded upon Cultural Pluralism. Cultural Pluralism is possible only in a democratic society whose institutions encourage individuality in groups, in persons, in temperaments, whose program liberates these individualities and guides them into a fellowship of freedom and cooperation. The alternative before America is Kultur Klux Klan or Cultural Pluralism. {6}

These traditional American ideals provide a counterbalance to the forces of racism and reaction in U.S. culture. They highlight the antidemocratic impact of the melting pot idea and point in a new direction -- one which was soon to be explored in the cultural projects of the New Deal, discussed below.

The Privatization of Public Policy

Industrialists like Andrew Carnegie and Leland Stanford provided philanthropy to fuel the proliferation of new cultural institutions that could guide initiates into the dominant culture. The direct public role in supporting and regulating cultural life was relatively limited through the early part of this century. It was mainly limited to public education and some public libraries; other cultural initiatives were left to private interests. The primacy of the private sector in cultural affairs was institutionalized early in this century with the introduction of a piece of tax law which still figures prominently in cultural policy: the income tax.

Inspired by the well-publicized largesse of the Robber Barons, Congressional framers of the Revenue Act of 1917 provided a deduction in taxes for those contributing to charities. This measure has been lauded by cultural policymakers in the United States as enshrining private initiative, and thereby freeing us from the danger of a tyrannical state holding sway in matters of cultural policy.

Most tax-deductible donations are made by people in the higher income brackets who tend to give to prestige arts organizations, educational institutions and medical facilities; their patterns of giving often reflect personal loyalties, with gifts by alumni to their own colleges or by a family to endow a hospital wing in the family name. Because of the tax regulations, low-income people are seldom able to derive any tax benefit from their charitable gifts; in the main, they contribute small sums to churches, animal shelters, and umbrella charities such as United Way.

Seen from a culturally democratic point of view, tax deductibility acts as a kind of short circuit in the public purse. Thus, funds which might have entered the federal Treasury as tax dollars, subject to the decision-making and accountability apparatus of government, are passed directly to charities selected by the individual philanthropist. These tax circumventions are subject only to the desires of the giver, accountable to no one. Expenditure of public funds thus passes from the purview of elected officials to a less accountable class of private individuals whose only qualification to judge is having surplus cash.

It should be said that under recent federal administrations, this distinction is more abstract than concrete. When government agencies use the same standards as private philanthropists to guide their grants-giving, the net difference with or without tax deductibility is practically nil.

A New Deal for the Nation's Culture

Though deference to the private sector is a central tenet of today's cultural policy, U.S. history does include a major period of dissent from this premise: the giant federal cultural programs of the New Deal. {7} It seems natural that the first serious effort to develop explicit public cultural policy in the United States should occur in the Great Depression -- a time when many people thought that the private sector had utterly and finally failed.

So fascinating are the public-sector programs of the 1930s to cultural democrats, we have devoted another document to them: New Deal Cultural Programs: Experiments in Cultural Democracy. These programs present us with a tradition of public policy utterly unlike that which has followed World War II. They provide interesting, flawed models of decentralized cultural development initiatives, designed to reflect and address the nation's cultural diversity, and addressed to the broadest possible publics, taking up the most controversial issues of the day. It's no surprise, therefore, that they also brought us unhappy stories of censorship and the birth of the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC), such an important force in the chilly era which followed.

Cold War Culture

World War II represents an abrupt break from the cultural themes, programs and history of the 1930s -- at least for all but one of these traditions. Only one survivor of the cultural policy debates of the '30s was to linger into the postwar United States, and it choked out the possibility of contending impulses gaining ground. This survivor is the witchhunt.

The anti-communism of the 1950s -- the so-called "McCarthy Era" -- had its roots in the '30s. The Depression had given rise to all kinds of radical political, economic and cultural thinking, much of it reflected in the cultural programs of the era. This had the effect of mobilizing the forces of reaction in U.S. culture. The threat to the status quo posed by the ground-breaking work of the period -- the socially-relevant productions of the Federal Theatre, the legitimation of working people's history in Writers Project publications, the images of social change depicted in Federal Art Project murals -- could not have been clearer. The successes of the Dies Committee campaigns against the WPA provided tactical experience and lent legitimacy to the reactionary critique of "foreign ideas" and radical ideologies. The victory of the WPA red scare was a springboard for the post-War witch hunts.

The War was also a crucial turning point for cultural life in the United States. Emerging from the War as the undisputed world power, already set in Manichean opposition to the Soviet Union, the United States was ready for an intoxicating love affair with The American Way of Life. It was imperative to transform The American Dream into a new reality. Public policies accelerated the urbanization of U.S. society, while freeway systems aided the development of suburbs and the whole constellation of cultural conditions which came with them. Television took off after the War, ushering in a global video age. Post-War Americans looked with confidence to a future world reshaped The American Way. As a people, we were ready to jettison any of the excess baggage that might impede Spaceship America, including many of the traditional values and practices that had been at the center of so much cultural work in the '30s.

Within this context, the heritage of public cultural policy and support established through the New Deal was quickly lost. Many former Federal One workers disavowed their past commitments under the bright lights of HUAC's hearing rooms. Where social relevance has earlier reigned, the art world now offered new advice: "If you want to send a message, use Western Union."

This dramatic shift in attitude affected the few who were still interested in public cultural policy in the years immediately following World War II. In the Fifties, when discussion of federal arts support resumed, it was tailored to suit the new fashion: with Americans busily building single-family suburban homes and shopping centers, most proposals focused on a "national cultural center" something like today's Kennedy Center. When discussion went beyond the physical plant, only the most demure role was defined for the public sector: to supplement the budgets of existing professional arts organizations. Meanwhile, the United States acted like a cultural Johnny Appleseed, seeding its commercial mass media throughout the world. There was very little explicit discussion of cultural policies during the Fifties. But the civil rights movement was beginning to make progress in attacking the culture of racism; this was to become the first of many movements to transform cultural attitudes in the Sixties and early Seventies.

It has been argued that during the Red Scare, when it was seen as dangerous to admit to any but Right-wing political ideas, artists continued to make radical statements by breaking with traditional forms, by indirection and abstraction. But the art world was no longer ready to make the connection between art and society explicit. This gulf between art and ordinary life, portrayed as unbridgeable, is now the basis of most cultural policymaking in the United States.

Starting from Scratch

The Fifties ushered in a new approach to cultural policy, characterized by two features: its narrow interest in professional institutions and its emphasis on the private sector in setting priorities and directions.

Post-War policy's orientation toward professional cultural production can be seen as part of a general shift toward the "client state," with public agencies shaped to respond to the demands of special interests. Government could have decided to take the entire public as its constituency for cultural policy, since absolutely everyone is affected by the quality of cultural life. But it has made the opposite decision: today's cultural agencies are specialist preserves. Their attention goes to the concerns of existing institutions -- the prestige arts organizations, universities, established professional artists, and occasionally the commercial purveyors of cultural products.

This redirection toward the professional sphere has meant a great gulf between the policies of the New Deal and those in force since the '60s. Policymakers of the '30s believed that a democratic government must pursue different aims from those of private enterprise in order to justify public subsidy. They felt that where existing arts institutions had failed to serve democratic cultural purposes, government could step in to encourage creativity and participation. But for today's policy-makers, democracy is reduced to an issue of public relations: since the taxpayer foots the bill, arts administrators are forced to justify public subsidy. Since most of these agencies support activities serving mainly white, better-educated and more affluent citizens, coming up with adequate justifications may be hard. We've seen this in recent years, as public arts agency responses to attacks from the Right have been weak and often unsuccessful.

Most prominent public arts administrators today resent even minimal public oversight of their agencies' affairs. There are quite a few workers in public arts agencies -- especially at state and local levels -- who are committed, in part or in whole, to cultural democracy. But the federal arts agency leadership and most of those others cast in their model have generally asserted that ordinary people are unprepared to decide on questions of public cultural policy and support; John and Jane Q. Public may know what they like, but they know nothing about art. These administrators may occasionally be forced to adopt public planning techniques as a condition of certain grants they receive; but these are deployed in the spirit of what consumer complaint departments describe as "cooling out the mark" -- processing potential troublemakers through a long and discouraging series of holding procedures designed to defuse their opposition. In short, the public arts administration leadership fears close oversight of cultural agencies, and rightly so when one considers that until recently, they have been free to work practically without public scrutiny -- and recent scrutiny has been only of the odious witch-hunting variety.

Narrowed in scope by their symbiotic relationship with the professional arts institutions, post-War arts agencies labor under a second and equally hobbling commitment -- to follow the private sector. The foundation for the present system of public support rests on a simple economic analysis of existing professional cultural institutions: private donors were unable or unwilling to meet the prestige arts' rising demands, so public subsidy was needed to make up the difference -- nothing more, nothing less.

This logic was first expressed within the framework of U.S. government in a report to President John F. Kennedy submitted by Twentieth Century Fund director August Heckscher on May 28, 1963. Heckscher was appointed "Special Consultant on the Arts" in March, 1962, for the express purpose of producing this report. It deals with "activities of the Federal departments and agencies as they relate to the arts; also with the general policies, such as taxation, as they impinge upon this field." It proposes "ways in which the relationships of the Government to the private institutions of the arts and to the whole cultural life of the Nation could be made more explicit and helpful."{8} It asserts some of the new values which have shaped U.S. cultural policy since the '60s.In setting the background for his recommendations, Heckscher celebrates a "rapidly developing interest in the arts," reflected in growing attendance figures, book sales, and the presence of cultural institutions "in numbers which would have been thought impossible a generation ago." Heckscher sees these facts as reflecting a permanent shift in national life and values:

What might be taken at first glance as a fad, a passing enthusiasm, is actually related to some of the basic currents of the sixties in America. An increasing amount of free time, not only in the working week but in the life cycle as a whole; a new sense of the importance of the cities; a recognition that life is more than the acquisition of material goods -- these have contributed to a search for a new dimension of experience and enjoyment.

At the same time there has been a growing awareness that the United States will be judged -- and its place in history ultimately assessed -- not alone by its military or economic power, but by the quality of its civilization. The evident desirability of sending the best examples of America's artistic achievements abroad has led to our looking within, to asking whether we have in fact cultivated deeply enough the fields of creativity. We have come to feel as a people not only that we should be stronger but that we should have a higher degree of national well-being in proportion as the arts come into their own.{9}

Two main arguments are being put forward here: One is very personal -- "a search for a new dimension of experience and enjoyment." The other reflects a feeling throughout American history that the eyes of the world are upon us. But it has been given additional moral weight by Cold War politics to become a warning -- that the United States should prepare to be judged in a global historical competition. Gone are the concerns for social justice fundamental to the federal cultural programs of the '30s.

Heckscher's was only one of a flurry of reports on the question of national cultural policy produced in the early 1960s. Private philanthropies played leading roles in preparing the arguments for public arts support. Heckscher's Twentieth Century Fund and the Ford Foundation were among others issuing reports. Most important was a study prepared by a special panel assembled by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund on the future of the professional performing arts in the U.S. {10} These privately-supported studies, along with Heckscher's report to the President, helped set the tone of the public agencies which were shortly to come into being.

The Cult of Quality

From the panel set up by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund -- which included Heckscher as a member and future Arts Endowment Chair Nancy Hanks as chief of staff -- comes a statement embodying the values which would dominate public cultural policy in the ensuing decades:

We must never allow the central focus on quality to weaken or shift. Popularization in any realm often leads to the reduction of standards. In our effort to broaden the audience base, we must not be led to accept imitation as a substitute for creation, mediocrity as a stand-in for excellence. Democratization carries with it a peril for art, even as it does for education. There are no guarantees against the dilution of standards that often accompanies an expanding public, but a constant critical awareness of the danger can do much to prevent its consequences.{11}

It would be hard to argue against these statements: who, after all, would assert that "mediocre," "diluted" or otherwise low-quality programs should be encouraged? But the problem implicit in this value system is clear: what is quality?

The twenty-odd years since the Rockefeller report have give us ample opportunity to decode these statements through their practical application. "Quality," "standards," and "excellence" have a very narrow and taste-based meaning in our domestic cultural policy. They are tautologies, describing the institutions, artists, and works of art deemed worthy by the philanthropists, managers and arts practitioners who are current beneficiaries of policy. "Excellence" and "quality" are knives that the administrators of current policy use to pare away arts work that calls dominant cultural values into question. As these terms are used, their meanings reside in the tastes and cultural biases of those chosen to award grants.

Filling the Income Gap

The Rockefeller Panel Report portrayed a field of cultural institutions plagued by the ills befalling any labor-intensive industry in an inflationary economy. It argued that the prestige institutions were unable to cut costs with labor-saving measures like automation, for example, available to manufacturing industries; an orchestra -- at least in its present incarnation -- will always need the same 100 players. The report exhorted readers to assure professional artists a place in the American Dream by subsidizing existing arts institutions, filling the "income gap" -- the difference between expenses and the amount that can be recovered through the box office and private donations.

Though speaking for better working conditions for artists, the Rockefeller report's argument implicitly blamed labor for the major institutions' financial woes; rising labor costs are still frequently held responsible for today's deficits. All costs, including wages, have risen in the last twenty years; but the red carpet institutions have spent many millions during this same period on bigger and better buildings, technical effects, and skyrocketing fees for big-name stars. Would the "income gap" have been such a problem if these institutions had opted for modest physical plants, had refused to pay inflated star fees, or had backed away from the spectacle as the dominant aesthetic note?

The Rockefeller Panel foresaw a continuation of the post-War development boom and the growing demand it produced for cultural institutions and activities. Civic boosterism had found a new ambition: to establish in cities and towns throughout the United States the same kinds of cultural institutions -- symphonies, galleries, and theaters -- as had previously been available only in the nation's largest cities. The situation described by the Rockefeller panel and others posed a double challenge for these fledgling institutions: not only to establish themselves, but also to fill the "income gap" that would be their inevitable lot.

Plausible Deniability : Do We Really Have a Cultural Policy?

The studies of the early '60s concluded that a relatively passive role was most appropriate for the state in relation to the arts. Today, the orthodox idea among most domestic cultural policymakers is still the paradoxical insistence that there ought not to be any cultural policy. Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin restated this supposition in a policy roundtable in 1981: "The countries that have cultural policies are, of course, totalitarian countries..." {12} As even a superficial acquaintance with international cultural policy proves, this is simply not the case. Boorstin's statement typifies an attitude that has perverted cultural policy debate in the United States: the specter of "state art." At the center of the opposition to cultural policy is the unexamined hypothesis that totalitarianism, "socialist realism" or the equivalent inevitably spring from the statement of public goals in cultural action.

The idea that we should have no cultural policy is an interesting proposition. The anti-policy argument comes down to three points: The first is that articulating coordinated policy would hamper individual agencies too much. The second argument is that government cultural policymaking would naturally lead to undue state interference in cultural development. Third is the conviction that there is no need to elaborate public policy since the government's cultural mission is to follow the lead of the private sector, that there are no other proper public goals in the realm of culture.

Whether one buys these arguments or not is moot. In fact, it is impossible for a government to avoid making cultural policy. No state can refrain from having cultural impact. And that impact, in the aggregate, will always constitute the national cultural policy -- whether or not it's explicit and articulate. U.S. national policy lacks coordination, clear aims and objectives. But it must be realized that every administration will make and implement policy, either as a carefully-considered element of public action, or by default, in bits and pieces, without public scrutiny or participation.

We have our own very different reasons to feel uncomfortable with calling for a comprehensive cultural policy in the current political climate. Primarily, we have no wish to see Congress and the federal government shape such a policy with the shoddy methods and undemocratic commitments we have come to expect from these quarters. Coordination, aims and objectives would only enhance the Right's ability to influence cultural life, and that would be a great setback for cultural democracy.


  1. See, for example, Vine DeLoria, Jr., Behind the Trail of Broken Promises (New York: Delta, 1974), pp. 85-160. (Return to referenced text)

  2. Lerone Bennett, Jr., Before the Mayflower (5th Edition, Johnson Publishing Company, 1982). (Return to referenced text)

  3. For a fascinating analysis of this history, see Joel Williamson, The Crucible of Race: Black-White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).. (Return to referenced text)

  4. Israel Zangwill, The Melting Pot (1908). (Return to referenced text)

  5. W.E.B. DuBois, Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1940). (Return to referenced text)

  6. Horace M. Kallen, Culture and Democracy in the United States (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1924), p. 43. (Return to referenced text)

  7. Many excellent resources are available on the New Deal cultural projects, including the following: Hallie Flanagan, Arena (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1940); Jerre Mangione, The Dream and the Deal: The Federal Writers' Project, 1935-1943 (New York: Avon, 1972); Richard D. McKinzie, The New Deal for Artists (Princeton University Press, 1973); Milton Meltzter, Violins & Shovels: The WPA Arts Projects (New York: Delacorte, 1976); and Art for the Millions, Francis V. O'Connor, ed. (Boston: NY Graphic Society, 1975). (Return to referenced text)

  8. August Heckscher, "The Arts and the National Government: Report to the President," Senate Document No. 28, 88th Congress, 1st Session (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963), p. vii. (Return to referenced text)

  9. Heckscher, p.1. (Return to referenced text)

  10. Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The Performing Arts: Problems and Prospects, Rockefeller Panel Report, No. 7 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965). (Return to referenced text)

  11. Rockefeller Brothers Fund, p. 207. (Return to referenced text)

  12. From unpublished portions of a March 1982 roundtable discussion on "Culture and Democracy." Excerpts published in "Can the Government Promote Creativity -- or Only Artists?" The New York Times, 25 April 1982, p. 6-E, columns 1-4. (Return to referenced text)

Arlene Goldbard and Don Adams are writers and consultants in organizational and cultural development. They established their consulting firm, Adams & Goldbard, in 1978, and have been based in Ukiah, California since 1985.

This essay is adapted from a previously unpublished manuscript entitled Cultural Democracy, written in 1986.

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