Top Menu

What Would You Encourage President Obama To Do About The Arts?

My blogging colleague, Joe Patti, published a wonderful article on 1/23/2013 titled Letter To The President On The Occasion of His Second Term. I had originally planned to join Joe with a letter of my own but work has kept it in draft form but I am bound and determined to get it finalized and published this week.

150x150_ITA_Guy003In the meantime, it seems clear that readers genuinely care about a politician’s position on the arts; two of the most popular
posts at the end of 2012 touched on the value of a candidate’s position on arts and arts education funding.

Consequently, now that the elections are over and President Obama has been sworn in for a second term, I’m very curious to know what you would write to him, or any of your elected representatives, regarding the arts. Take a moment to leave your thoughts in a comment below.

2 Responses to What Would You Encourage President Obama To Do About The Arts?

  1. Brian January 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    It seems like the most a president can do is offer symbolic gestures towards the arts. He has little sway in actual policy matters but he can do things like host musicians in the East Room of the White House (or have them at his inauguration). Those things put the spotlight on classical music in ways that the industry itself never can.

    On the other hand, there’s little to gain by standing up for the arts on a real dollars-and-cents level. The Republicans will use it against him and it’s not an industry that adds a lot to the economy. But one can always hope a larger sense of mission would prevail.

  2. Jason January 30, 2013 at 12:04 am #

    In 2008 and again in 2012, I did a little personal study in which I downloaded the Democratic and Republican party platforms, as well as transcripts of the major speeches from both parties’ conventions. I then did a simple word search for “music,” “arts,” and “theater.” The number of hits was embarrassingly small. It would be nice if politicians would mention us. There exists a “President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities” (bonus points for those who know who established it.) On their website is a quote from the current First Lady:

    “The arts and humanities define who we are as a people. That is their power — to remind us of what we each have to offer, and what we all have in common. To help us understand our history and imagine our future. To give us hope in the moments of struggle and to bring us together when nothing else will.”

    —Michelle Obama

    When that quote comes out of the mouth of an elected official during a major policy address, then we will have made some progress. (Especially if they actually believe it!)

    They also need to make the case that money spent on the arts (and science for that matter) doesn’t disappear into a black hole. Money spent on the arts (and science!) builds things and employs people. From casual conversations with people outside the arts, there is a belief that money spent on concert tickets or music lessons is tantamount to setting dollar bills aflame. I want to yell: “That money doesn’t disappear! It actually goes to people who buy things and contribute to our economy!” Money spent on the arts in the USA contributes directly and indirectly to the US economy. It also contributes directly to the quality of the lives we lead.

    I think somewhere in there is a sentence or two that, in the hands of a decent speechwriter, would be very much at home in a major policy address given by the President and qualify as actual bipartisan leadership that everyone could agree on.

Leave a Reply