A Review of Performing Policy: How Contemporary Politics and Cultural Programs Redefined U.S. Artists for the Twenty-First Century

Neville Vakharia


Current perspectives and approaches to cultural policy in the United States have overwhelmingly focused on the role of the intermediary – the public and private funders, the policymakers and governments, and the formalized cultural enterprises that all play a part in shaping policy in their own way. Very little has been written or studied about cultural policy from the perspective of the artists, those who are actually creating, performing, and producing the public goods and benefits that cultural policy seeks to shape.

In Performing Policy, author Paul Bonin-Rodriguez provides a much-needed perspective on the artist's role both in cultural policy and in 21st-century American society. Bonin-Rodriguez draws extensively from his own experiences as a performing artist, teacher, and scholar to elevate the role of artists in cultural policy and to document their importance in being at the “policy table.” His book is timely and relevant, as expectations of artists' roles have been elevated. Artists are more frequently expected to participate in the creation of social, cultural, and economic capital, though effective policies and practices that collectively support this lofty role are yet to emerge. The author's frequent references to Pierre Bourdieu's forms of capital provide grounding for the reader in understanding the overall impact of artists in our communities.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Neville Vakharia

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Artivate is published by Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs.
Photography credit: Tim Trumble Photography Arizona Board of Regents. All rights reserved.