Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why I don't agree with having a Secretary of the Arts

Unfortunately, part of my position is cynicism.
Put simply, I think that this position will result in more bureaucracy, and will continue the pattern of funneling the wealth and resources in the arts to those at the very top.
I also think that in the middle of a gigantic economic crisis, any policy this person recommends (especially if it involves spending $$$) will simply be ignored. And perhaps for good reason, perhaps not. Considering that we are the throes of a gigantic economic crisis.
I'm skeptical that the federal government will execute any kind of visionary program that will enrich the lives of the nation through the arts.
I will come back to the later today, as I study the ideas being put out there more closely.


Jean-Fran├žois Charles said...

Yes Forbes, let us know more about it. It's very interesting, especially for me, coming from a country where the Arts are very much State-sponsored (very little private money goes into the arts in France - what is the cause, what is the consequence?).

forbes said...

I'm looking deeper and not finding much so far. I'll keep looking. It seems at this point the concept is to create a cabinet level position. Quincy Jones said that he would talk to Obama about it and a online petition has gathered over 60,000 signatures.

The existing arts bureaucracy in America is bad enough, now we want to add more layers to it? Whose projects will be funded and with what money? Not only that, but with such a dismal economic situation going on, this department will be under immense pressure to deliver return on investment. Therefore, the projects most likely to be funded will be ones oriented towards the goals of the business community.

If we have to have a cabinet level intervention, I say do it with the Department of Education and bring the damn arts back into the schools. Fund that.

I've only been to France once, so I don't really know much about it. But what I can say about America is that there is little support among the populace, and even less political will, to put much money into anything that doesn't benefit rich people. As much as Americans complain about trickle down economics, in reality they believe in rewarding the "successful", with more of their own money.

I personally do not want more government programs benefiting rich people. They don't need my help.