The Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley is sponsoring the symposium “ART/CITY” on March 16, 2012. Participants have been invited to respond to the prompt “in relation to the arts and civic life, the question I am wrestling with right now is…” in advance of the event. This guest posting is by Susan Medak, Managing Director of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
|Photographer: Lisa Keating|
“In relation to the arts and civic life, the question I am wrestling with right now is…” what is the future of ‘place based’ arts when the concept of community is being to radically redefined. So much artistic creation has, historically, been informed by a specific location, a relationship with a specific geographic community, and a very real sense of presence and live engagement. Many arts organizations continue to feel that their most important relationships are based in real time, local, interactive experiences. And yet, the concept of community has transformed from one of geography to one of shared interest, from one of proximity to one in which geography is irrelevant. The value of local has become a much less potent concept in an age where the global is so exciting. How does a locally committed arts organization thrive in this new environment? The impacts of globalization on audiences, on philanthropy, on access to artists and a wealth of other factors I haven’t even begun to consider, will inevitably leave us all profoundly changed.