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Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company

The New York Times

August 16, 1999, Monday, Late Edition - Final


SECTION: Section A; Page 18; Column 6; Editorial Desk

HEADLINE: Policy Can Help Arts

To the Editor:

Alice Goldfarb Marquis (Op-Ed, Aug. 9) argues that we don't need a "national policy" for arts and culture because they are too diverse and amorphous and because there are plenty of signs of increasing support for them.

But diversity can be, and often is, the explicit goal of cultural policy. Moreover, we cannot assume that a laissez-faire approach is the best way to insure variety. For example, left on its own, the film industry is likely to consolidate, which may in fact limit the variety and scope of available movies.

Also, the "robustness" of the arts does not signal a need to ignore cultural policy. It is precisely during such periods of rapid growth and change that informed policy making is essential. Increased investment and robust activity should be a clarion call for more, not less, policy research.


Princeton, N.J., Aug. 12, 1999

The writer is associate director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies.


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