Opinion: Considering the next NEA chair

Posted on: December 5, 2012

In an opinion piece in Sunday’s (12/3) Denver Post, Ray Mark Rinaldi writes, “The National Endowment for the Arts has worked itself into the quietest little corner of American politics. So muffled that the agency barely made news last week when its chairman, the former Broadway producer Rocco Landesman, stepped down after three years on the job. … His departure gives President Obama a chance to put someone new in the job, a leader who can operate less in fear of being called to the Capitol to explain a grant for an offbeat performance art piece and more toward carrying a banner that puts culture back at the forefront of American identity. … Our next NEA chair needs to make the fine arts trendy, return talk about poetry, literature and classical music to the national conversation. He needs Twitter followers. She needs to be on the Ellen Degeneres show, to come on stage with the Boston Symphony Orchestra one night, Justin Bieber the next. She needs to speak a little Spanish, dress for the red carpet, do a little rapping. … Touting the arts as an economic driver or a cheerleader for civic boosterism is just part of the picture, and frankly it’s getting old. Someone needs to speak up for the arts as simply worthy on their own merit.”

Posted December 5, 2012