Friday, January 23, 2009

Secretary of Arts Petition

What do you make of this - Quincy Jones' proposal that President Obama create a Secretary of Arts post? I heard about this the other day on NPR. The petition doesn't have anything in the way of details about what this position would entail. Still, though, I went over and signed it with a few mouse clicks. I'm not really that troubled by the details at this point. I just like the notion that our new administration will be more supportive of a lot of things that are important to me, including the arts.

I know critics of something like this will say that the government shouldn't be in the business of deciding what's art and/or that the market should decide what's of artistic worth and what's not... I don't buy either notion, though.

On the first point I think government can support a diverse and healthy artistic life without becoming an arbiter of taste and worth. Living in Scotland, I can't tell you how many times I saw the Scottish Arts Council logo supporting films, festivals, art shows, musicians, writers etc. It was wonderfully diverse group, and it's painful to imagine many of those projects struggling for funding. They weren't all projects that could turn a commercial profit, but so many worthy artistic endeavors aren't. It cost so little, but I can reward us with so much.

That's my thinking on it. What's yours?

By the way, the petition is Here if you're inclined to add your name to it.

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Blogger Dirk said...

I agree, have the feds support the arts a bit. Artists are used to being frugal anyways, the price of one bomber could provide a living for an army of artists :)

Though really, just having universal health insurance would be one step towards supporting artists.

12:46 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

How right you are about the health coverage. I'd argue that the single biggest thing that keeps American artists/writers from being able to write full time - health costs and and health cost FEARS. I'm all for universal health coverage, for so, so many reasons...

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Jones has started it all off, lets hope that if it becomes a reality it doesn't open the door to the arts being used as propaganda or something similar. But if it can bring in some more funding and exposure, I'm all for it. Petition signed! Thanks for bringing this to our attention, David. :-)

4:09 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Considering all the propaganda sources there are in our national media, I'm hardly worried about the dire impact of supporting a few artists. We've got tv and newspapers, big-budget film to spread propafanda! Oh, and the internet...

Thanks for signing, Dave. I'm sure it's a good thing.

12:30 PM  

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