Perambulating the Bounds

Friday, May 19, 2006


I don’t always find myself agreeing with Bill Ivey’s ideas about the arts economy (he seems to put a strong insistence on markets as both the best way to support art and the judge of value, discounting the idea that there would be organizations or art forms that should receive other kinds of public support), but he and Steven Tepper from his research center at Vanderbilt have a good article in the Chronicle of Higher Education that includes a couple of points near and dear to me: that art-making is increasingly driven by what he (or actually Charles Leadbeater) call professional amateurs, people who take it seriously but don’t make a living at it, and that this is a “revitalization of folk culture” (a line written by Henry Jenkins in an upcoming volume Ivey and Tepper are editing).

Ivey and Tepper go from those points to argue that this sort of folk cultural experience is a matter of elite privilege, something available to people with leisure. That doesn’t match my experience so much, where it seems that the most serious people are accepting pretty marginal standard of living to pursue this, and that the socio-economic backgrounds represented are pretty broad, although most of the people I run across have had at least some college.

I'm not entirely sure, but it seems like Ivey and Tepper may be willing to take the artistic production from these sources seriously. In one sentence they credit "pro-ams" with "producing high-quality innovatice work." I'm always on guard for the tendency to dismiss as the work of hobbyists the efforts I see going on all around me.


  • Hi David,

    My name is Sara La and I'm a local artist. A fellow by the name of Randy Reed introduced himself to me last night at an art opening. He is looking to start up a monthly magazine called Nashville Arts that will focus on the visual arts community here in Nashville. He is looking for writers and guest writers.

    If you'd like to contact him regarding this magazine (first issue due out in July) contact him at rread06 at yahoo dot com. I don't know for sure what direction he wants to take a mag, but I thought you might be interested.

    By Blogger Sara, at 5:06 PM  

  • Hi just read your blog site simply because we have same name david maddox do you know your family history regarding the name? I have lived in liverpool(England) all my life /53years my fathers side of the family originated in ireland and came to Liverpool in 1900 although maddox originates from wales and is a celtic name deriving from madoc so you have celtice genes

    By Anonymous, at 11:43 AM  

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