Federal Arts Funding Beyond ‘Piss Christ’

The short version: Bullies who favor guns over culture distort facts so they can gut federal arts funding; here are some facts.

The news
“The president’s budget would eliminate the NEA’s $148 million budget, the NEH’s $148 million budget and the CPB’s $445 million budget, as well as $230 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which supports libraries and museums across the country.”

— Washington Post

Here we go again. A GOP budget plan to ax arts funding. Right-wingers cheering it on, saying things like arts are elitist and that people who want arts should pay for it themselves . This all seems to be a reflection of a couple different ways of looking at the world: the libertarian one, in which everyone needs to do everything for themselves (except maybe national defense?); and a kind of anti-intellectualism in reference to culture that can be summed up as “if I don’t understand it, it must be elitist.”

I’m reminded of a story told by a former newspaper colleague who recounted a meeting with an adult person in public. That person, recognizing her from her photo in the newspaper, said something like, “You write those movie reviews, right? You must be a millionaire.”

Continue reading

NYC Art: Independent Art Fair, Armory Show, Chelsea Galleries

A vision of America: Witnessing divisiveness together

Debate Watch Party

Debate Watch Party (Photo by Andrzej Pilaczyk)

How are college kids approaching this election? Where I work, we’ve had debate watching parties open to the public. The communal experience of watching the debates have been eye-opening for students, who say that they value the ability to share the moment with hundreds of others, to see in real life and in real time how others — fellow students and members of the community — respond to the words of the two major party political candidates.

The togetherness, the shared experience, are a vivid contradiction to the divisiveness of the campaigns. They are a moment of hope. More photos are here.

The next Debate Watch Party is at 9 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2016. More info here.