ON-Lion Letter

A new book, The Future of (High) Culture in America, brings together the proceedings of the inaugural conference of The University of Arizona's Center for American Culture and Ideas (CACI), an institution dedicated to studying and promoting the arts, particularly investigating the relationship between the high arts and culture in America.  Presenters and respondents at the 2014 conference included practicing artists, critics, educators and academics, curators, and art purveyors.

Papers were presented, followed by comments from a panel of respondents and an audience question-and-answer period.  All of the participants dealt with the questions of whether there is a high culture in America, and if so, whether it is in jeopardy?  This suggests an opportunity to consider what "culture" or "high culture" means.

From Cambridge Scholars Publishing, The Future of (High) Culture in America explores a range of subjects, including music, dance, the visual arts (particularly photography), and more-general philosophical and psychological matters.  As such, it offers a fascinating and provocative kaleidoscope of the position of arts and culture in America.

Its first chapter, by Bradley Prize recipient Terry Teachout, is about the future of high art in America.  "Our problem is not that cable-TV crime dramas and Broadway musicals are somehow inherently bad," according to Teachout, "but that too many people don't know there's anything else out there.  And that's the most important part of our job:  not to tell and retell horror stories, but to convincingly celebrate the glories of high art."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supported the conference and supports CACI.

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