The Arts and State Governments: At Arm's Length or Arm in Arm?

The Arts and State Governments: At Arm's Length or Arm in Arm?

Almost half of all U.S. public-sector grants to the arts are provided by state arts agencies, which derive much of their authority and funding from elected officials. A new report from RAND Education recommends that SAAs reach out to government officials and the public to position the arts higher on the list of government priorities. The second in a multiyear series of studies funded by the Wallace Foundation as part of its State Arts Partnerships for Cultural Participation initiative, the report, The Arts and State Governments: At Arm's Length or Arm in Arm? (84 pages, PDF), finds that while there are risks in allowing elected officials a greater say in state arts policies and programs, an "arm-in-arm" relationship between SAAs and state governments would ultimately benefit ordinary Americans by increasing their engagement with the arts.