Skip to main content

A Challenge for the Future

In 1967 the Smithsonian Institution established a Division of Performing Arts for the purpose of bringing life to the collections of the National Museums and to present programs that explored the American aesthetic experience. In those Spring days ten years ago, I remembered historian Constance Rourke who had reminded us that, as late as the 1930s there was a common belief that America had no aesthetic tradition of its own, and that this country had never produced a culture in which the arts could flourish.

Ms. Rourke was not referring to a commonly held belief about the urban enclaves where theater, music, dance and graphic arts flourished,

Read Full Article

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.