In case you haven’t heard, Quincy Jones has been speaking out lately. He’s calling for President Obama (I know it’s still 4 days away, but shoot that sounds good) to create a cabinet-level post for the Arts & Humanities. Here’s a link to last week’s article in the Washington Post and a link to the online petition.
For the most part, I am in favor of this idea. Arts Education especially deserves more respect and attention and a Cultural Ministry would be an enormous step, demonstrating our national appreciation for the arts. But the argument that limited federal support in favor of private funds keeps American artist free to create without a government sponsored agenda seems to carry some weight. Propaganda and censorship can rear their ugly heads in so many ways. Would it be better to have a $300 million NEA budget (it was $144 million in 2008 ) if they only supported “respectable” projects? Would artists be more inclined to tailor their work and ideas to fit government requirements if it meant they could make a living? I’m interested to know what you think.