I wasn’t expecting any questions in the last presidential debate to address the candidates’ arts policies, because, let’s face it – the state of the arts doesn’t affect most Americans on a daily basis. People want to hear about issues that hit close to home, like the economy and health care. Thus, funding for the arts and arts education is, sadly, set aside.
But for me and so many artists and art attendees, it’s important to know where the candidates stand on funding for the arts. You can read Obama’s arts policy here, which is “the most comprehensive platform on the arts” ever seen by Robert Lynch, CEO and President of Americans for the Arts. Obama explains how he will reinvest in arts education (which includes the creation of an Artists Corps to work in low-income schools), increase funding for the NEA, promote engagement between American and foreign artists, and provide health care to artists. Speaking of the NEA, check out this report from 2006 on the correlation between arts participation and civic engagement. Some of the results seem pretty obvious, but the statistics are interesting.
You can read McCain’s arts plan here – all four sentences of it. It’s very vague, leaving the specifics of arts education funding up to local entities without actually stating that there’s a need for increased arts funding in schools. After waiting more than 18 months to receive an arts statement from McCain’s campaign, Americans for the Arts put the two candidates’ plans side by side and emailed a 6-question, yes/no survey to its more than 100,000 members. Obama came out on top. You can see the results and report here.
Thank you to Danciti for pointing me to many of these links.