Learning from Negative Space
Categorizing Success in Arts Policy Entrepreneurship
From its inception in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has counted on its agency leaders to operate as policy entrepreneurs – working to influence the federal public policy process and advocating for increased public arts funding. Policy entrepreneurship research has largely centered on success stories (Mintrom & Luetjens, 2017), but this does not provide a full picture of policy entrepreneurship. Kingdon (2003) argues that when policy entrepreneurship fails, so does their policy initiatives, but there has not been an investigation into policy entrepreneurship that fully defines and studies policy entrepreneurship failure in context. This investigation identifies three distinct areas where policy entrepreneurs can achieve success: agency leader, advocacy coalition manager, oppositional respondent. Through the lens of policy entrepreneurship with a focus specifically on rhetoric, this study assesses John Frohnmayer, NEA Chairman from 1989 to 1992, as a case of policy entrepreneurship failure. In looking at a case of unsuccessful policy entrepreneurship, this study furthers policy entrepreneurship theory and provide arts and cultural policy scholars with a more nuanced understanding of Frohnmayer’s time as Chairman of the NEA.
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