New course for fall 2013 / PAF 3810: The Arts and Public Life

New course for fall 2013!

PAF 3810: The Arts and Public Life

Fall 2013 • Fridays 11:10 to 2:05 pm

Room VC-10th Floor-Room 130 

(Please see attached syllabus for list of professors teaching this course)    PAF 3810 Arts and Public Life – summary – 6-27-13


Students will explore how art and arts organizations function in the political, economic, and cultural context of the New York City and more broadly the nation. Through a variety of innovative learning experiences, including field work at museums and other venues, students will grapple with the challenges of leading, funding, and promoting art in public life.


There is no course in the BSPA curriculum that focuses on the arts. On February 20, 1921 the New York Times headline declared: “New York the Art Capital of the World.” By 1983, the Port Authority estimated that arts and cultural activities contributed over $5.6 billion dollars to New York City’s economy. The National Endowment of the Arts and major foundations advocate that the arts are an engine for economic development. In 1997, the Alliance for the Arts issued a report to Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani citing the arts contributed $13.4 billion to the NYC economy. By 2005, this figure had grown to $21.2 billion and the sector by 160,300 people. Policy advocates need to understand the many ways in which the arts relate to public affairs. Policy analysts should understand how aesthetics motivate and undergird citizenship and public actions. Arts and cultural policies are also an area of employment for a public service career. This course offers students an opportunity to become familiar with arts organizations involved in both advocacy and service delivery. Among other NYC arts institutions, BSPA students will work with the Rubin Museum of Art and the Theatre Development Funds, both of which have a special arrangement with Baruch College and CUNY offering students the opportunity to experience the arts for no or little cost.


Professor Stan Altman, School of Public Affairs. (

Office Room 8-12 in D-Building (corner of 22nd Street & Lexington Avenue)


By the end of the semester, students will be able to:

1.         Describe how the arts promote, develop and influence public policy;

2.         Explain the role different forms (such as theater, music, and museums) play in the cultural and economic life of global cities;

3.         Identify and explain the major political processes used in funding the arts and in making arts and cultural policy;

4.         Analyze the role the arts play in economic development;

5          Discuss how to visualize and conceptualize complex information related to the arts;

6.         Communicate a strategy for advocating on behalf of an arts organization involved in shaping public life and civil society;


Reading Quizzes 20%

Arts and Public Affairs Reflection Papers 20%

Research Paper 15%

Team Policy and the Arts Project 20%

Final Exam 15%

Participation 10%