Artists as Government-Supported Activists?

21 09 2009

First, before I stand on my soapbox, find the original Fast Company article by Alissa Walker here. If you want another perspective, which I will most likely go IN on read the editorial by The Washington Times here. Lastly, read this letter to the editors of the Washington Times by Bob Lynch for Americas for the Arts here. And now….

For awhile now I’ve been thinking about the longevity of the urban arts. One hundred years from now when city walls have been blasted and niche galleries have closed their doors will the works of the urban artist remain? We know who the author’s of the history books are. We know the funding for the arts in schools of all levels is practically non existent, all of this ensuring our future leaders will have no interest in the arts. So when the National Endowment for the Arts former chairman, Rocco Landesman schedules a meeting with artist and arts organization it is a win for the arts. Not an attempt to put artist on the payroll.

Since this infamous teleconference, Rocco Landesman has stepped down and now holds another position in the NEA because anti-health care reform loud mouths has decided that the government held this meeting to pressure arts organizations to support health care reform. It has also been reported that these organizations and artist received large grants at one point.

Bob Lynch reports that no such meeting occurred and this teleconference is just another misrepresentation of the facts by Anti-Obamanites. I will have to agree with him.

If artist are easily persuaded by the government than that would be represented in their work. If they are not easily persuaded by the government, that too will be represented in their work. I think it’s belittling to artist for the Washington Times to suggest that artist can not come to their own decisions, could not support health care reform, could not depict President Barack Obama as a super hero without the pressuring of Landesman, without being paid.

Artist gaining the attention of the federal government is a win for the arts. Images of politicians and war live on. There is no question that Shepard Fairey’s Hope poster will stand right alongside Obama’s historic victory. I knew about the Daisy Ad used in 1964 by LBJ (seen below) against Senator Goldwater before I fully understand nuclear weapons in America.

If the government and the arts can get on the same page, it will be a plus for America. Maybe we need artists’ paint brushes and graphic designers to re-illustrate and repair America’s image in our global community instead of painting a conference call as an attempt to pimp and brainwash.