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Connie L. McNeely and Gordon Shockley

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Deconstructing U.S. Arts Policy: A Dialectical Exposition of the Excellence-Access Debate

Much political debate over public support for the arts in the United States has centered on issues of excellence versus access, as the role and value of the arts in society has been questioned in an environment of increasing social and cultural commodification. The authors focus on questions that look to unravel some of the most crucial underlying assumptions and processes attending such perspectives, including who decides and determines excellence and access (and for whom) and what are the related implications tied to who makes policy decisions, particularly in terms of aesthetic ideologies and the public role and responsibilities of artists?

art policy, culture wars, commodification, excellence-access debates, National Endowment for the Arts, democracy

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 33, No. 2 (2006): 45-62