Graduate Project


Art festivals in Oregon : historic and geographic aspects Public Deposited

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  • The arts and festivals of art have today become a vital economic force in some areas of the country and a way of life for some people. The number and sizes of festivals, as well as audience size, has grown tremendously both nationally and in Oregon, since 1950. Even the federal government has begun to be involved to various extents. Art festivals are an important source of information about the needs, values, and interests of an increasing number of people in our society. Art festivals, as a form of outdoor recreation, have spatial as well as time dimensions, hence they carry certain implications for parks and recreation programs, urban planning, as well as recreational land use planning, and man's crucial adjustment and ability to cope with increasing leisure time. By means of a literature review, the researcher examined art festivals in context of the nationwide arts movement to gain an understanding of the historical process. For the sake of perspective, the literature on mass culture, the relationship of arts and crafts to state and county fairs, and to leisure were likewise reviewed. Then, focusing on art festivals in Oregon, mail questionnaires were sent out to all cities in Oregon known to have held such festivals in the last three decades, and personal interviews were conducted with 188 spectators at art festivals held in the Willamette Valley, 1975 The researcher found a steady increase in numbers of festivals held in Oregon, quadrupling from 1950-1960, and doubling from 1960-1976. Site or location was one of the most important factors in attracting people, as well as the key element in explaining the distribution of art festivals. Interviewees placed great importance on close-to-home recreation, non-activity (i. e. not '1doing") recreation, and the factor of being outdoors. Naturalness of the site as well as density of the recreational experience were found to be directly opposite to the traditional planning values for judging quality recreation. It is concluded that professionals in the arts, parks, and planning fields need to join forces; that the federal government should support recreational arts and their open space needs on a national scale, rather than just around Washington, D. C.; and that urban governments could and should make more space available for events such as art festivals in close -to -home neighborhood settings since the greatest need of the immediate present and future is for the provision of recreation and recreational space for all people, not just the young or the physically and economically able. The need is also seen for city and park planning to be more imaginatively and sensitively aware of behavioral needs in recreation, than has been the case in the past. Team effort or interagency co-operation is seen as the answer to a more foresightful setting aside of the necessary space for the future. Mentally, new attitudes and definitions, as well as outlooks need to be encouraged among urban planners and recreationists. Physically, parks, per se, are not considered necessary for art festivals, but open space is (preferably for permanent rather than just temporary use). With an increasing urban population, it is concluded that the needs of the future lie in urban areas, hence the challenge and opportunities for change will rest heavily with city and regional governments, with planners and park-recreation departments. But ultimately responsibility lies with the taxpayers themselves, who must give their monetary support and must not be satisfied with anything less than imaginative new plans for close-to-home recreation and leisure.
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