Table Topics questions are meant to stimulate family and classroom discussion.
Use the questions below after reading,"Cultivating culture"
- Arts funding is hard to come by during tough times like the Depression. Nonetheless, art flourished. Government and philanthropists helped but much of the Seattle art scene developed through the vision of determined individuals like Nellie Cornish, the Jameses and Sir Thomas Beecham. Do you know of any prominent movers and shakers in today's art scene? Are there influential institutions, key artists or a definitive style that defines our era like Cornish School and Tobey, Graves and Anderson and the Northwest School did in the '30s? Why or why not? Can you think of artists or performers who only became famous after they left town?
- Although the '30s saw an artistic revival of painting, theater and music, much of the art produced did not have broad popular support. Do you think the arts climate today is more sophisticated? More encouraging to artists? In art, do you think it's possible to be both innovative and popular? Is it likely that a piece of modern painting would be reproduced upside down today by any of our major media?
- The Federal Arts Project of the New Deal put artists to work. Today Seattle supports public art through taxation, and the national government awards art grants through the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts). There has been controversy over content in some NEA-funded arts projects. How do you feel about issues of obscenity, creative freedom, censorship and public funding? Should government be allowed to create guidelines if they're paying the bill? And who should decide what's acceptable?
- In Seattle, ways of marketing art and arts appreciation to a broader audience have become part of our culture--in First Thursday gallery walks, free First Thursdays at the Art Museum, free downtown concerts, plays and book readings, and in yearly arts festivals like Northwest Bookfest, Pacific Northwest Arts & Crafts Fair and Bumbershoot. What is the value of art to the general public? What do you think is the most popular piece or performance of public art and why? What's your personal favorite?
- Today our regional arts scene is considered flourishing and diverse. There are many signs of this vitality: well-respected ballet, opera, symphony and theater companies, large numbers of resident artists, actors, musicians and writers, and an emerging film-making industry. Seattleites are well-known readers and movie-goers, and our region's the place to be for grunge rock, glass art and crime writing. How do you think we developed these interests and this cultural identity as a community? Go through the newspaper and notice the many categories of arts coverage. Which arts do you follow? What do you think will be the next creative hot spot on the local scene?
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