Funding is good, but federal arts policy needed

Posted on: July 7, 2009

In an editorial in Monday’s (7/6) Huffington Post, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts President Michael Kaiser writes, “There is frequent discussion about the validity of federal funding for the arts in this nation; most recently, the inclusion of $50 million for employment in the arts in the stimulus package was the source of heated debate. What we really need is a debate over federal arts policy. Most people do not know that no fewer than nine government agencies provide support to arts in this nation. That is not a typo. In addition to the National Endowment for the Arts, the national Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, arts money is also granted by the Departments of Commerce, Education, State, Agriculture, Defense, and Transportation! Those of us in the arts are grateful for the many opportunities presented for federal support. The problem is that there is literally no coordination between these agencies on their arts spending, nor is there any central governing philosophy or policy. … We need someone in the administration, perhaps the new Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, to provide leadership and coordination to ensure that all grants-making agencies are working in a common direction and that the money expended creates an arts ecology that benefits all Americans.”

Posted July 7, 2009