From Public Support for the Arts to Cultural Policy

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From Public Support for the Arts to Cultural Policy

By Margaret Wyszomirski, Ohio State University

Though public funding for the arts had been an element of budget and appropriations business at both the federal and state levels for over a quarter-century, the idea that policy justifies and directs these resource allocations has been slow to emerge. This article provides a historiographical discussion of how the issue was framed and of the resistance to the term "cultural policy" through reference to contextual, political, and epistemic factors. It then uses four presidential reports ranging from 1953 to 1997 to track the evolution of political language concerning the policy definition of the arts and culture, the roles and responsibilities of the federal government regarding these, and the emergence of a range of policy issues beyond public funding.

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