Friday, December 05, 2008

The Huffington Post Awakens to Discover the Arts

Well, that's rather unfair -- here and there, I have found The Huffington Post has its batallion of bloggers covering different arts topics. Followers of this blog, for example, will recall my noisy tete a tete with playwright and Brothers & Sisters creator Jon Robin Baitz after he wrote a blog post on the SAG strike.

But the essay up on the HuffPo right now by Randall Bourscheidt, president of the Alliance for the Arts, is pretty interesting, if lean on specifics. It deals with what will happen to arts policy on a national scale in the wake of Obama's election -- which is to say that for the last, oh, 20 years, we've had very little arts policy on a national scale.


In the US we have a unique system in which private giving takes the lead in supporting the arts but government support provides a seal of honor by the public sector. Although funding for the National Endowment for the Arts is small compared to the massive investment many countries make in their own cultural life, it is symbolically and practically important, especially to smaller cultural institutions spread throughout the land....

The Obama campaign statement on the arts offered hope in another area. He supported the idea of cultural diplomacy, with eased visa restrictions on foreign artists and a great effort to send artists around the world representing the US....

I would have liked more specific policy prescriptions or expectations from Bourscheidt, who is a great champion of the arts (even if he passed over me once for a nifty position at the Alliance). I really think this is the moment to spell it out in detail, to be bold in vision as well as demands and expectations. Nostrums or near-nostrums no longer cut it. We need more essays like this one from Bourscheidt but we need them longer and stronger, and we need them now.

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1 comment:

Five New Yorkers said...

Thanks for the feedback and mentioning the Huffington Post entry, Leonard. Randall Bourscheidt has other entries in the works with HuffPo, so more to come.