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Is Amateur the Next Best Thing?

In the past few months, I have been clipping articles about a so-called “new” trend towards more amateur participation in the arts.  First there was an article in Newsweek that pointed to the global recession as an explanation for the uptick in non-professional arts activity.  More recently, the New York Times, in a heart-felt story of amateur music-making gave credit to an inspiring teacher.  My own feeling is that we are not experiencing something new, but a pendulum swing back to a time when Sunday living rooms – like the one I grew up in – were full of non-professionals who enjoyed making music together.  On the walls and tables were paintings and sculptures made by people who lived there.  Perhaps the return to this kind of participation is the best indication that the arts are alive and well.


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