Starting in 2014, the CSPA has replaced its Bookstore with an annual book selection to build your library. Each year the CSPA will select a handful of books we we feel are essential reading. When someone subscribes to the CSPA, they are able to select one of that year’s book selections, and we will send it to that subscriber to add to their library.

Essential Reading

No Culture, No Future Cover

No Culture, No Future by Simon Brault

“Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits,” proclaims the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Simon Brault takes these words to heart and goes one step further. In No Culture, No Future, he establishes that arts are not just a right but a necessity. A longtime advocate of the arts in Montreal, Brault has taken action to re-establish that city as one of the most culturally accomplished communities in Canada. No Culture, No Future is part of his campaign to convince the people and governments of cities across Canada that investment in the arts benefits all citizens.

Upcycle Cover

The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance by William McDonough and Michael Braungart

For McDonough and Braungart, the questions of resource scarcity and sustainability are questions of design. And they are practical-minded visionaries: They envision beneficial designs of products, buildings, and business practices—and they show us these ideas being put to use around the world as everyday objects like chairs, cars, and factories are being reinvented not just to sustain life on the planet but to grow it. It is an eye-opening, inspiring tour of the next industrial revolution as it unfolds in front of us.

The Upcycle is every bit as ambitious as such classics as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring—but its mission is very different. McDonough and Braungart want to turn on its head our very understanding of the human role on earth: We should not just protect the planet from ourselves but should redesign our activity to improve the planet. And that goal is well within our reach.

Muse Cover

Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts

Faced with intense competition for audiences and financial support, as well as adverse political fallout from the “culture wars” of the early 1990s, arts advocates have increasingly sought to make a case for the arts in terms of their instrumental benefits to individuals and communities. In this report documenting the most comprehensive study of its kind, the authors evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these instrumental arguments and make the case that a new approach to understanding the benefits of the arts is needed. Critical of what they view as an overemphasis on instrumental benefits, the authors call for a greater recognition of the intrinsic benefits of the arts experience, provide a more comprehensive framework for assessing the private and public value of both intrinsic and instrumental benefits, and link the realization of those benefits to the nature of arts involvement. In particular, they underscore the importance of sustained involvement in the arts to the achievement of both instrumental and intrinsic benefits. This study has important policy implications for access to the arts, childhood exposure to the arts, arts advocacy, and future research on the arts.

Making Cover

Making Your Life as an Artist: A Guide to Building a Balanced, Sustainable Artistic Life by Andrew Simonet

In his new book Making Your Life as an Artist, Andrew Simonet – choreographer, writer and, for 20 years, Co-Director of Headlong Dance Theater – offers answers to why anyone would choose the life of an artist, and how to manage that life. He shares what artists already know: building a life as an artist is a creative act, and using your artistic skills outside the studio can make it sustainable. Simonet’s book does not offer “how-to” steps to succeed in the art world. You won’t gain gallery representation or get your play produced by reading it. Instead it shares carefully considered—and mordantly humorous—survival skills and techniques for sustaining a creative life. As part of Simonet’s mission to put tools in the hands of artists, the e-book of Making Your Life as an Artist is free and available to all. It can be downloaded at

Practical Green Theatre Cover

A Practical Guide to Greener Theatre:Introduce Sustainability Into Your Productions by Ellen E. Jones

Protecting the environment should be a priority of every theatrical production, but it can be challenging to mount an environmentally-friendly show with limited time, resources, and information. A Practical Guide to Greener Theatre: Introduce Sustainability Into Your Productions not only gives you the information you need to make greener decisions, but provides you with practical, workable solutions. You will learn how to assess and improve every production area – from costuming and painting, lighting and technical direction, to administrative offices and the rehearsal process. Checklists, examples of successful strategies, and step-by-step instructions will show you how to identify areas where manageable, sustainable changes can make your productions greener, and advice from working professionals, with experience greening their own productions, will leave you confident that your processes are environmentally sound. Even non-technical people who find themselves responsible for supervising productions will find green solutions that can be instituted with a staff of volunteers or students. Remember: every step toward sustainability is a step forward.

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