Opinion: Our country needs a cabinet-level secretary of arts and culture

Posted on: December 7, 2020

“When a president calls a meeting of the Cabinet, most vital sectors of the economy—from soybean farmers to auto manufacturers—have an appointed government representative in the room, a secretary of agriculture or transportation, to speak for them,” writes Peter Marks in Wednesday’s (12/2) Washington Post. “You know what doesn’t get a seat at the table, and never has? The arts. And in this crisis moment, when a pandemic threatens ruination for museums, theaters, concert halls, opera houses, dance studios, cineplexes and amusement parks—and the 5.1 million arts workers who staff them—the time has come to rectify this glaring oversight. Now, more than ever, we need a secretary of arts and culture…. The notion is gaining momentum among leaders and advocates of nonprofit groups and for-profit companies…. More than 50 nations designate an official in the top ranks of government whose portfolio includes nurturing artistic endeavors. In Germany, for instance, the minister of state for culture, Monika Grütters, has been an ardent proponent of aid to artists during the covid-19 crisis—a backing that helped secure a staggering $54 billion in aid for those in cultural, media and artistic pursuits.”