By Arlene Goldfarb
Let’s call it the cultural commons: public space for meaning and beauty that enables us to learn who we are, envision a livable future, and work together to shape it. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift that is bringing our cultural commons to the center of our awareness: art and culture are being given their true value as the crucible wherein civil society is forged. The capacities that can be best learned through art—social imagination, empathy, improvisation, awareness of cultural citizenship, connectivity, and creativity—are being used to transform our collective story to one of possibility. Consider a single example: since the advent of YouTube, we have become a nation of filmmakers, weaving music, image, and narrative to express our concerns, poke fun at false idols, foreshadow an emergent world more loving and just than the old paradigm. Have we taken in what this really means?