Live blogging about cultural participation

The folks at Arts Journal are currently live-blogging from the ASOL conference in Nashville. In anticipation of the book Engaging Art: The Next Great Transformation of America’s Cultural Life they started a discussion last week on a specially created blog. This afternoon they have taken the discussion partly out of the blogosphere with a presentation at the conference.

I have yet to read up on the 90+ entries, but I’d like to post my thoughts as soon as I do. I am mostly interested in cultural participation of diverse ethnic communities and the use of technology in cultural participation.

But then I was indirectly reminded today, by Time Out Chicago editor Marc Geelhoed, that all this talk of cultural participation means nothing if you don’t have the content to back it up. Marc writes on the Time Out blog that after the MusicNOW performance of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre on June 4, sales for the recording shot up and it even returned to the charts, along with a recording of his opera Ainadamar. He states: “an astonishing 84 per cent of the Ayre discs were sold in Chicago.”

I am not aware of any special marketing or advertising efforts for the recording surrounding the MusicNOW concert. The concert was sold out and attended by more than 1,500 people. The content of the concert was apparently (I am glad to see other people felt the same way) so strong that it moved many of those in the audience to purchase the recording. Now how’s that for cultural participation?

On the other hand, sometimes marketing and technology really do the trick.