Inequality and Inequity in the Arts

In addition to the various books that enhance this research, there are many scholarly journals that explore the themes of inequality and inequity in the arts. Using seven scholarly journals, this research will enhance the proposed research by emphasizing the values of diversity, and the effects of what happen when arts organizations lack diversity.

The first journal, Letting All Lives Speak, is a literary analysis of data and the structure of arts education across America. Most importantly, this article examines the theory of Alexander Baumgartner’s concept of the “Felix aesteticus.

” Using the 2012 National Center for Educational Statistics report, this article shows that there is an equality divide between lower income communities and access to the arts. The theories of Jacques Ranciere suggest that the human spirit is lost without art or access to art. It also emphasizes that because of this theory, arts education, although often neglected by legislators and education administrators, is vital to a child’s development and growth.

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This article shows that policy makers must start to realize that without arts education for lower income communities, that many children will fall privy to the Felix aesteticus. This simply means, children from lower income communities will become lost because they don’t have access to a creative outlet.

This article is important to the proposed research, because it provides quantitative data that shows lower graduation rates, higher dropout rates, and lower standardized test scores when lower income communities do not have access to the arts. However, in more privileged communities, arts access is included into their education which provides better results in lower level education.

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Using this data, the proposed research can convey that inequality in the arts starts from early childhood education and expands into arts organizations, arts educators, and performing artists.

The second article, Reflections of Elitism, analyzes what arts organizations think of themselves and where they stand with diversity and equity. This article goes into in-depth detail about how arts organizations have been adapting to the various ways society has been changing. This article also details how certain societal changes, such as gender equality, racism, civil rights, and many others have transformed the field as a whole. It emphasizes how stakeholders for non-profit arts organizations play a large role in how diverse or equitable the environment in those organizations are. This study looks at mission statements and communication materials of the major arts organizations of five U.S. cities to determine what they say about themselves and how they position themselves on an elitism-democracy continuum, from excluding to embracing new and different audiences. It included a content analysis of annual reports, season brochures, news releases, and social media to determine why and about what arts organizations communicate. It then used a case study approach to analyze in more detail the communication of three specific arts organizations. Overall, the study showed how arts organizations are communicating their unique identities and how they are working to position themselves on the democratic side of the elitism continuum.

This article is important to the proposed research because it identifies a select group of arts organizations and shows that elitism in the arts is not just a perceived concept, but a real institutional problem that is recognized. Using this article, the research can show qualitative results through statements and opinions of others, while also pointing out how elitism is associated with inequality in the arts.

The third journal goes into a more specific part of research by evaluating the dance aspect of inequality and the arts. This article explores stylistic and demographic similarities in American dance film through the lens of curators who design the American Dance Festival’s Movies by Movers. While calling into question how the dance film community can be more aware of the culture created on screen by makers and presenters, this article displays examples of representational disparity found in American dance film while examining the relationship of dance film to ideologies expressed by mass media and the world of professional dance.

Although this article does not provide a large amount of research about different inequalities in arts organizations, it does provide a lens into the way dance is portrayed through film. This portrayal of dance on film, does not always show diversity and inclusion, which is a supporting factor in the proposed research. With this different approach, a particularly interesting part about this article is how even though dance is a very in-person type of performing arts, even when portrayed on film, it causes a large impact to the art community. This means that if diversity is not portrayed on stage or in film, it perpetuating stereotypes that dance is not diverse, even internationally and globally.

The fourth journal, Engaging the Pink Elephant in The Room, is a primary source of research that supports the proposed research’s thesis statistically and with measurable data. The focus of this research in this article was to investigate what influence participating in a semester-long social justice art education studio course would have on current art educators’ unconscious and conscious bias and racial attitudes towards themselves and others. The article also aimed to develop transformative art education tactics and understand its role in the critical examination of issues surrounding race and racism, and its impact on transforming racial attitudes. The findings of this study indicated that exploring racial issues through transformative art education pedagogy can create a positive attitude change and help educators to become more comfortable with the topic of race and the idea of working with diverse populations.

This article is important to the proposed research, because it shows that bias and implicit and explicit views of racism, take root within administrators and educators within the arts. Using this article’s research, it will provide insight to how the very focus of art itself can create a change within the arts community. Using art to display the problem, fix the problem, and continue to grow from the problem, will be a powerful message within the research itself.

The fifth article, On The Origin of Inequality in The Arts, will provide background information as well as a historical analysis for the proposed research. The article, originally written in French is a philosophical and analytical view on the French realities of how the arts should be used as a framework for social science and community development. The article also uses empirical material from sociological and economic studies of the art professions in several countries. Mainly using time-sensitive surveys and surveys of cultural demand and consumption in Western populations, social history of music and art, together with the author’s own studies of his experience within the French Cultural sector, the author gathers that art is innately designed to be unequal.

This article is important to the proposed research because it provides insight into how inequality and racism within the arts is not just prevalent in the united states but also globally. With the idea that the origin of the arts was a mechanism to perpetuate inequality, it begins to offer the idea that there is reasoning that dates far back into history on why art is not fair or offered to all communities. In addition to providing a global perspective, being that the French is known for upscale art, it provides a more historical analysis on the root of inequality within the arts.

The sixth article, Representation and diversity, advocacy, and non-profit arts organization, is another foundational piece of research. This article emphasizes how in recent years, arts and culture nonprofits have sought to make themselves more relevant to community issues by engaging in advocacy. Based on survey data drawn from a national sample of arts nonprofits, this study compares the different levels of advocacy carried out by all arts nonprofits and by minority-led arts nonprofits. To explain the varying levels of advocacy, this study focuses on the diversity of an organization’s board members, stakeholders, and its surrounding community, as well as the ethnic or racial identity and the professional background of its leader. Our results indicate that constituent and community racial and ethnic compositions are associated with the level of advocacy at arts nonprofits. Also, arts nonprofits with leaders who have been in the arts industry for a significant time are more likely to be engaged in advocacy than otherwise similar organizations. We discuss the implication of diversity and professional leadership on arts nonprofits’ advocacy.

At first glance, this research paper was going to include more than just racial and ethnic disparities within the arts, but a majority of the research discusses diversity as a racial issue, and not as a gender, socio-economic, and other factor issue. However, this article will be important to the proposed research because it displays the number of non-profits that include advocacy and minority-led initiatives. It also goes into depth about the importance of leadership within arts organizations, and how advocacy means nothing without follow through and actions.

The seventh and final article, An Asymmetrical Portrait, provides insight to a less talked about subject, gender-inequality within the arts. This article emphasizes how most research has focused on gendered income inequalities in other fields, but no literature has explored the phenomenon that gender inequality exists within artistic careers. Using the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), a nationwide survey of 33,801 individuals who have received degrees in the art, the article assesses the gendered earnings gap for artists and for nonartists. The article also finds that some of the same gendered earnings gap is comparable for artists and nonartists, and that artistic careers are subject to some of the same social forces that drive disparity in other occupational realms. However, in the arts, there is not much of a wage penalty to motherhood that has been documented in almost every other field. Broader implications for scholarship on gender and work, as well as suggestions for further research and policy, are discussed, but not as heavily.

This article is extremely important to the proposed research, because it adds data that shows other forms of disparities besides racial and socio-economic factors. The gender gap for men and women in the arts is important to this research because it displays that inequality exists in every realm in the performing arts sector. It also shows that although women make up a large majority of arts leaders and artists, they are not paid the same as their male counterparts. This will be a large foundation on the research of gender disparities.

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Inequality and Inequity in the Arts. (2021, Feb 17). Retrieved from

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