This blog is not political, but with the recent US presidential election along with the economic downturn, I am interested in thinking about the ways the arts community may be affected. It will be particularly interesting to see Obama’s arts and culture policy take shape and be put into practice. Many of the ideas outlined in the campaign policy would directly benefit artists, from better health care to an “Artists Corps” that sounds like a mix of AmeriCorps and the New Deal WPA artists programs. Better conditions and support for artists will hopefully carry over into other areas of the art world, so it will be exciting to see how policy develops.
Obama’s campaign truly championed volunteerism, something that is fundamental to museums and arts education. They also took advantage of the internet and social networking, and with the launch of http://www.change.gov/ it looks as if the focus on volunteerism and online connectivity will be carried into the new administration. Check out the site, I expect it to expand quickly. There are places for people’s suggestions for several issues including the economy and health care, and mention of volunteer programs for people of all ages. To me this mix of volunteerism, focus on arts and culture, and structured programs for work suggests a new hybrid of FDR’s (and Eleanor, can’t forget her influence) and Kennedy’s social projects. And as a total social networking geek anything that involves the internet and user involvement makes me giddy.
Okay, time for me to try to calm down. There are, shall we say, bigger fish to fry right now in the US, but it is good knowing that our next president has at least thought about artists and the arts community.