Creative Potential

Roberto Bedoya

I privilege the making of arts as an activity to support, and hence my advocacy for strengthening the creation system. I do not see or define the worth of art on what it delivers, whether what it delivers is audiences, civic engagement, or the "next new art thing." This is not to separate art from context, from the creation and delivery systems, but serves to place the focus on arts as transformative. Art is a passionate force that creates metaphors, images, sounds, and aesthetic experiences. How does one make a policy for transformation?

The passion of the heart, of the mind that artists utilize to make their art, the composing that makes claims upon society asking that we imagine is an act of participation that defines "public." If by-products of cultural policy are activities that eliminate passion from the sphere of art-making in order to render a rational policy, then cultural policy is a failure and suspect. Cultural policy activities need to utilize, mobilize these passions toward policies that benefit artist, audiences, and our understanding of risk, freedom, responsibility, beauty, the poetic composing of the world, the mystery and courage of imagination.

Roberto Bedoya, cultural activist and writer, developed this report while a Rockefeller Fellow, the Privatization of Culture research seminar, New York University. For a copy of the full report, write

from Cultural Policy: The Creative Potential, an unpublished report, 2002.