A Review of Performing Policy

How Contemporary Politics and Cultural Programs Redefined U.S. Artists for the Twenty-First Century

  • Neville K. Vakharia Drexel University

Abstract

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.

Author Biography

Neville K. Vakharia, Drexel University

Neville K. Vakharia is Associate Professor and Research Director in Drexel's renowned graduate arts administration program, teaching courses in management, strategic planning, entrepreneurship, and related subjects while undertaking research and development projects that seek to strengthen the arts, cultural, and creative sector.  His research centers on the role that technology, innovation, and knowledge play in building sustainable, resilient, and relevant organizations and communities. A seasoned presenter and educator, Neville is a frequent speaker, moderator, and panelist at a wide range of conferences nationally and internationally.

Prior to Drexel, Neville was the director of the Cultural Data Project (now DataArts) at The Pew Charitable Trusts, overseeing its strategic direction, operations, and national expansion. The CDP is a growing national initiative created to improve the management and financial capacity of arts and cultural organizations, inform grant-making strategies, and serve as a powerful tool for policy research and analysis.

Prior to Pew, Neville was Director of Technology Services and Programs for the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, where he developed and launched the Technology Connectors, a program designed to support the technological capabilities of the region’s arts and cultural organizations through education, strategic planning, and consulting. He served as Director of Marketing for the Prince Music Theater, overseeing all audience development and branding strategies, and for 12 years he was the founder and co-producer of the ArtsFest Film Festival, central Pennsylvania's largest film festival.

Neville also has more than 10 years of experience in the corporate sector, working in new product development, marketing and global product management for W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., manufacturer of GORE-TEX products. Neville holds two international patents and has developed several new products and technologies. He earned both his bachelor of science degree in materials engineering and his master of science in arts administration from Drexel University. He serves on the board of directors of CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the editorial board of Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts. Neville also serves as an advisor to many creative, start-up, and social enterprises and community-based organizations.

Published
2015-01-01
Section
Book Reviews