Perceptions of the Arts Institution in the African-American Community: Focus on the Muse Community Museum in Central Brooklyn
Verda Lorraine Harris
William E. Cross, Jr.
Thesis DT 3.5 1985 H316
xiii, 158 leaves; 29 cm.
This thesis is concerned with the preservation of the arts institution in the inner city. The theoretical formulations on cultural development put forth by Harold Cruse guided the study. The work opens with a review of the literature on culture, cultural development, cultural democracy and the democratization of culture. It then shows the multidimensionality of the cultural environment in the African- American community. A historical overview shows the evolution of inner city based cultural institutions which emerged during the Black Power phase of the Contemporary African American Social Movement. The study then probes into the question of public policy decisions on the funding of community arts organizations and the current availability of support.
Next, the study turns to a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the structure and functions of a community based museum and the perceptions of the museum as held by patrons, representatives of local organizations, and artists. A special survey schedule was developed for each of the three target groups. Each survey schedule was analyzed across a variety of classification factors such as income, age, and level of education. Key dependent variables were attendance and networking. Some of the conclusions focused on community cultural leadership, organization renewal, and the initiation of aggressive fundraising for the stability of the cultural institution. One of the major findings was that The Muse started out with a grassroots orientation and now appears to have become more bourgeois. Suggestions and recommendations for future research were presented at the conclusion of this treatise.