In the comments on my entry, "You and the Needs of Your Audience," Jonathan wrote the following:
"I would argue that cultural relevance is, by it's very nature, directly tied to a choice by the artist to navigate in the same current which their audience swims - upstream, downstream, cross-current - those are up to the individual. Standing on shore as an artist, however, while others attempt to swim, float, or just keep from drowning is relevant to no one but the author and is narcisistic.
While I don't often comment on your posts Laura (this is my first, actually), I read them with interest. Cultural relevance, especially in America, among artists, is often seen as "selling out." One only needs to look at others who have "swam" in the currents of their audience before - Brecht, Boal, Ibsen, Shakespeare, etc. - to see that it is the very combination of the work they produced, for their unique audience, at their unique moment in history that makes it meaningful and gave it "wings" to last beyond it's time."
Great comments. I totally agree. This period of time, however difficult it is for our country, is a time of opportunity and empowerment. Through discussions with others in my daily life, I've learned that many others believe the same thing.
Perhaps it is now time to look at where our country's culture might go. What will our world look like a year, two years, five years from now? Most economists and pundits will tell you that there is no way to predict how this crisis will turn out. Whether McCain or Obama win the election, or if Bush suspends the elections, our culture is being redefined. Our values are changing, radically and rapidly.
What an exciting time to be an artist or writer.