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January 09, 2009


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Awesome post and awesome points.


A lot of my same views as well. Arts has always felt like a ship adrift in the governmental system. It exists, just not sure where it should go. If this person could be a someone to guide and give way to more organization, I say hurrah.


Very well said.

Ian David Moss

Great post. I agree. Real action is more important than symbolism, but real action + symbolism is best.

Aaron Leichter

Great post! I've got my thoughts up over at The Fifth Wall.


Some of what you wrote here made me think about a book I just read, Michael Kaiser's The Art of the Turnaround. He talks specifically about large grantmaker funding and about state-level and federal-level funding for performing arts institutions, and has some interesting things to say about how grants should be structured to support initiatives that theaters already do that are successful.

Not as "big think" as what you're talking about, but of possible interest to others who wonder how arts funding currently "works" and what some people want to do about that.

Also I'd be interested in what Ministers of Culture in other democracies "do", to compare it to what non-symbolic activity a Culture Czar in the US might do. I just don't know -- I mean, Paris SEEMS more cultural and high-falutin' than DC or NYC, smirk smirk, but is the culture minister to take the credit?

Whether through a Cabinet-level post or not, arts funding at the federal level is so politicized, witness the NEA Five and Robert Mapplethorpe and other gay and AIDS activists/artists in the late eighties/early nineties and the rigamarole they went through. Because federal tax dollars get filtered through the congressional and presidential political points-scoring before finally ending up in an artist's pocket, you often see it going to very un-dynamic, uncontroversial "art." I suppose it is ever thus with arts funding -- the funders decide who gets the dough and that constrains the artists.



Antique Cabinets

I don't know if having a secretary of the art in the US help, but i know other countries that do have secretary of the art.

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