Secretary of the Arts

January 14, 2009 at 02:26 AM ·

http://www.petitiononline.com/esnyc/petition.html

Please sign this petition, and ask everyone you know to do so as well. While many other countries have had Ministers of Art or Culture for centuries, the US has never created such a position. You will be required to provide your name and email address, with the option to keep your email private.

Replies (10)

January 14, 2009 at 04:44 AM ·

That's probably because our country was founded by folks who were wary of government interference, and that has clearly had a lasting influence on our culture.  In the midst of a multi-billion-dollar bailout I think calls to create yet another bureaucrat position are going to be looked upon with derision.  Better, in my humble opinion, to work on building grassroots support...for instance, one could take up my teacher's challenge to "play for 1,000 children."

January 14, 2009 at 05:20 AM ·

What would be the purpose of this position?  Most schools cut their art programs.

January 14, 2009 at 05:35 AM ·

Everyone seems now to be asking--predictably--where all that bailout money went. I 'm not one of the backwoods anti-government-ragged-copy of the constitution in the back pocket-types, but I really don't believe the government should be responsible for the arts, and for deciding who gets what. The government has proven again and again that they should not be the ones to pick the winners and losers. The ethanol debacle is a perfect example.

January 14, 2009 at 06:01 AM ·

Ugh...I'm with the others on this. 

My head seizes up with pain every time there is more fodder on the news about the so-called bail out in this country.... the billions of dollars our government is handing out with no strings attached and certainly no accountability for what is being done with that money.  

We have turned back time to the middle ages when the ruling family collected all the money and handed it out in exchange for political and religious favors.   The serfs and peasants had no say, and neither do we today.  All those centuries of political warfare were for naught.

Better start planting those Victory gardens because people in this country are going to get very hungry before we see this turn a corner.

January 14, 2009 at 10:00 AM ·

Yep! In general, the less government we have the better off we'll be.

January 14, 2009 at 02:42 PM ·

I like "Czar" better.

January 14, 2009 at 04:13 PM ·

I'm a little surprised by what appears to be a consensus here, and I must disagree heavily. Culture is something that needs to be nurtured. For everyone to support it (i.e. the gov.) it is just fine, because everybody pitching in to it benefits from it, usually indirectly.

Having spent a decade growing up in a country where culture is heavily subsidized by the government (Germany), I can appreciate how that plays out. Having fine arts on radio, television, and on stages and in theaters enriches everyone's lives. There is a cost for it, and the cost is worth it. 

January 14, 2009 at 05:05 PM ·

Thomas,

I agree that "culture" should be nurtured. However, not by the US government. For one thing, one must define the word "culture" itself. Does it mean symphony orchestras, ballet, and opera? Or does it mean heavy metal music? Photography? Chitlins and biscuits? Pole dancing? Cock fighting? Monster truck racing?

See where I'm going with this? Culture is not a narrow slice of the arts--it's the sum total of a society. So who in the government would decide who gets what? A political appointee?  Based on who gets into these positions, it's usually industry insiders: the people who regulate the coal industry tend to be ex-coal executives. The people at the SEC are....former bankers. 

As we are seeing now, the government is having to bail out industries which, in many cases, have been poorly managed. If the government throws money at poorly-managed orchestras, would that help them?

The European model of supporting classical music is not appropriate in the US, and may even have passed its heyday in Europe as well.

 

Thomas, I'd like to add that if the US government were to subsidize the arts, it would not benefit everyone--just the few that appreciate them. 

January 14, 2009 at 05:10 PM ·

We already have the NEA...and look at how well that's worked out for the Arts. I agree that a grass roots approach would be the most appropriate, but looking at the current pop-culture environment in the United States, I'm sure it would be a monumental waste of time. Until you get an American Idol type show on TV for young classical musicians, I'm afraid no meaningful progress (nationwide) will be made. It's unfortunate, but americans have been dumbed down with the arts for close to half a century. What I think needs to be done to further classical music in America is for Film composers to find a way to re-work some of their popular film scores into orchestral suites. I know that my interest in classical music came via Danny Elfman's score to Batman in 1989. I know many folks who wanted to learn their instrument because they wanted to play the Star Wars theme. If we could do this...and perhaps a few more "Fantasia" movies, maybe interest would pick up. I'd also like to see string programs in every school that has both band and chorus.

 

 

January 14, 2009 at 05:16 PM ·

so who would be a good candidate for this position?  please refrain from being too comical:)  since your life is on the line.

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