The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists & The Future ($18.99) and The Wave ($14.99)—two short books published simultaneously—tell a powerful, emergent story of art and public purpose in very different ways. They open a door to understanding for readers of any age, gender, background, or taste.
Culture is the matrix of every humane society, the power-source of the imagination, empathy, creativity, and resilience needed to activate our innate capacity for moral grandeur and social healing. Begin to see culture clearly and everything changes from despair to possibility. We know ourselves and each other through music, images, movement, and stories. Thousands of years ago, art aided our survival as a species. Today, culture is the laboratory in which we nurture compassion and discover how to improvise a livable future. And artists are both the stem cells of the body politic, generating myriad forms of beauty and meaning, and our indicator species for social well-being.
People sense the truth of this, but the guardians of the old order can’t yet see it. They keep ignoring what’s emerging and trying vainly to solve all our dilemmas with numbers. Corporation Nation is killing us: our social institutions and official understanding no longer fit reality. We are like 20th-century people trying to live in the 19th century.
The antidote to this malady is awareness: face the damage, assess our capacities and alents, envisage the possible, then bring our actions in line with the new reality. The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists & The Future and The Wave point the way.
Arlene Goldbard is a writer, speaker, consultant and cultural activist whose focus is the intersection of culture, politics and spirituality. Her book New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development was published by New Village Press in November 2006. She is also co-author of Community, Culture and Globalization, an international anthology published by the Rockefeller Foundation, Crossroads: Reflections on the Politics of Culture, and author of Clarity, a novel.