How does art and culture
translate into economic value
? Elizabeth Currid, author of The Warhol Economy
presents an invaluable scientific view on an industry regarded as anything but in her article, The Economics of a Good Party: Social Mechanics and the Legitimization of Art/Culture
Simply speaking, arts and culture establishes economic value the more it's recognized as a scene
, when people pay to share in the experience via goods or events. The real question is, how does it become a scene in the first place?
Elizabeth details the process through three role players: cultural gatekeepers
, cultural commodity intermediaries
, and the social community
- The gatekeepers
are the equivalent of the Renaissance's Medici
, the purveyors of talent and taste that have earned such a reputation through success, whether it's a renowned designer or just someone who knows how to throw great parties. Once a gatekeeper identifies a cultural find, they work with...
- The intermediaries
who represent the distribution channels (eg nightclubs, stores, parties) that provide consumer access to the 'chosen' associated cultural products and services. Place-specific reputation, exclusivity and rarity are context-oriented influencers.
Then there's the cultural social network
representing the market itself that not only makes or breaks a cultural trend, but is playing an increasingly larger role in influencing the economic viability of artistic and cultural taste, especially in a rising crowdsourcing economy
Thanks to Brian Corrigan for the reference!
Image: A 5-week art scene generated by gatekeeper George Koch of Artomatic in Washington DC.