About Art in the Public Interest

What is API?

API is a nonprofit organization formed in 1995 to serve the information needs of artists and organizations who are bringing the arts together with community and social concerns. Based in North Carolina, API was founded by co-directors Linda Frye Burnham and Steven Durland. Burnham chairs API’s national board of directors, which also includes William Cleveland, director of the Center for the Study of Art and Community in Bainbridge Island, Wash., Kathie deNobriga, consultant and former director of Alternate ROOTS in Atlanta, and Robert Donnan, independent community and economic development consultant in North Carolina. The name “Art in the Public Interest” was taken with permission from the excellent book of the same name written by late Arlene Raven,Village Voice art critic and longtime contributing editor to API’s magazine, High Performance.

What is API’s philosophy?

API is devoted to progressive thinking in the arts. We strive to support art that reflects not only a commitment to quality but a concern for the culture in which that work appears. We see the arts as an integral part of a healthy society in which the artist provides both intellectual nourishment and social benefit.

What API does

API’s goal is to support the efforts of culturally engaged artists and organizations, both by providing information to them about the field, and by providing information about the field to the broader public. Vehicles for this information have included periodicals, books, pamphlets, archives, workshops, electronic information sites and collaborations with other organizations.

API Primary Staff

Writer Linda Frye Burnham and visual artist Steven Durland, codirectors of Art in the Public Interest and editors of High Performance magazine since its inception in 1978, have taught, lectured, juried and served on panels at dozens of universities and arts agencies. They were founder and executive director, respectively, of the 18th St. Arts Complex in Santa Monica, California, where Burnham and Tim Miller founded Highways Performance Space. Burnham is a widely published writer who has served as a staff writer for Arforum and contributing editor for The Drama Review. She received a Brody Arts Fund Award, an Artspace Award in Arts Criticism, a Vesta Award and a Mayor’s Citation from the City of L.A. Durland is a visual artist who has received a Ford Foundation grant for book publishing, a South Dakota Arts Council Fellowship and an Asia Cultural Council grant for travel and research in Japan. They coedited “The Citizen Artist: 20 Years of art in Public Arena” (New York: Critical Press, 1998). They reside in Saxapahaw, North Carolina.

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