A Recap of the Year We Spent Together

First, some sad news to share with everyone: this is my last post for Tech in the Arts, the quintessential blog looking at the intersection of arts and technology online. As a student here at Heinz College, it has been an honor to share with you on a weekly basis a look at different trends and topics at that very intersection, with a little bit of policy thrown in. For my final post, I wanted to take a look back at some of my favorite posts from the past year, and share with everyone what my thought process was when it came to writing about the important issues that affect the arts community on a daily basis.

Compared to the other writers here at Tech in the Arts, I have always tried to take a different approach – one that is centered on public policy, and how it impacts the arts community and arts lovers everywhere. As a Master’s student in public policy here at Carnegie Mellon, this is what I study on a daily basis and what I am passionate about, and I have been determined to include it in the overall conversation.

One of the topics I have written about frequently is the issue of funding for the arts, and the somewhat uncertain future it faces. Many cities and states, and even the federal government, are facing times of budget austerity, and cuts to the arts are happening at an alarming pace. I also wrote about the National Endowment for the Arts and its funding history, along with the new upstart on the arts funding block, Kickstarter. Arts financing in Europe has also been the target of deep cuts, and I finally looked at the debate surrounding what method of funding was the best for the arts in America. And in my very first post, I talked about how important it was (and still is!) to protect federal funding for the arts.

One of my favorite topics to write about was where arts and public policy intersected. One of my favorites to write was looking at where public policy lived through the eyes of the artists; another was a look at artistic revisions of the American Dream of buying a home. As we all know, the arts play a large role in economic development, which I wrote about, and I also took a look at how cities are thinking differently when it comes to development, often using the arts to differentiate them. Finally, I took a look at how cities are beautifying themselves through public works of art, as they face budget shortfalls and have to think creatively.

The most popular piece I wrote this year (and perhaps the most controversial, given some of the feedback and comments!) was looking at the debate over the most artistic city in America. The winner (as crowned by the Atlantic) was Santa Fe, but certainly cities everywhere can make their own legitimate cases for being the most artistic. Its topics like that are so much fun to write about; everyone has an opinion, wants to make their case for their own city, and it encourages discussion and debate.

I also enjoyed writing about an issue that doesn’t receive a lot of attention in the arts community, but is very important nonetheless, which is the issue of net neutrality. I wrote about how important the issue is, and also about how the issue is not going away anytime soon.

Finally, two of my favorite posts were about topics that don’t fit neatly within any of the above categories: My look at the Google Art Project and the White House, and also my look at the fall of Kodak and its effect on artistic inspiration.

It’s been a pleasure being a part of the fantastic and talented team here at Tech in the Arts for the past year. Thanks go out to everyone on the team for their help and support, and chiefly for the opportunity to write for all of you on a weekly basis. Thank you to everyone for reading, for being so supportive and for the kind comments and responses throughout the year.

For those so inclined, you can follow me on Twitter at @seanbowie, and can reach me by e-mail at seanmbowie@gmail.com. It’s been a pleasure everyone, thank you!