Well, now that we’ve got a crazy-liberal jihadist in the White House (just kidding, we love our new Messiah), some folks say that the arts need their own economic recovery plan. The only problem we see with this is that we’ve had twenty years of Republicans arguing that the arts are evil, evil things that don’t deserve government support–even if it’s for something as innocuous as Sesame Street, so the idea of creating a government post for the arts seems like the kind of thing John Boehner can make a press conference about. After all, do you know who has arts ministries? Europe, that’s who.
The New York Times talks to arts leaders about what the Obama administration can do:
Americans for the Arts has proposed appointing a senior-level administration official with an arts portfolio, along the lines of Leonard Garment of the Nixon administration, August Heckscher under John F. Kennedy or Roger L. Stevens under Lyndon B. Johnson. “Someone to connect the dots,” Mr. Lynch said. “We don’t have that right now.”
But what arts executives are most eager for, they say, is additional direct financing and a president who sends the message that art is important.
Funds for the N.E.A. have declined to $145 million in fiscal year 2009 from $176 million in 1992. Representative Louise M. Slaughter, a New York Democrat who is co-chairwoman of the Congressional Arts Caucus, said she would seek more in the next fiscal year. “I’m more encouraged than I’ve been in a very long time,” she said of Mr. Obama. “He has said many times how important the arts are to him.”