War, energy, humanitarian intervention, public education, women’s reproductive rights, the death penalty … somewhere on the long list of policy positions among the presidential candidates is the arts. Or at least for one of them.
Americans for the Arts asked the presidential candidates to provide their positions on the arts and culture in America. Barack Obama provided three: A list of legislation he sponsored or co-authored in support of the arts, a list of policy positions on arts issues, and a proposal to create a National Arts Policy Committee.
The Obama campaign’s policy initiatives include: Reinvest in arts education, expand public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations, create an Artist Corps (a la the Peace Corps), publicly champion the importance of arts education, support increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, promote cultural diplomacy, attract foreign talent, provide health care to artists, and ensure tax fairness for artists. You can download details on these policy positions here.
John McCain has yet to provide any position statements to Americans for the Arts, but he could do worse than follow the lead of President Bush. McCain’s voting record in the U.S. Senate shows he’s not opposed to doing so. During a presidency many label the most disastrous in this country’s history, Bush has been somewhat of a friend to the arts. The Fiscal Year 2008 omnibus appropriations bill includes $144.7 million for the NEA — the highest level of NEA funding since 1995. The $20.2 million increase in support from the previous year represents the largest dollar increase in the NEA’s appropriations since 1979. The NEA reached its peak funding in 1992, at $176 million.
The Presidential election is yet another way you can Vote Yes to the arts, November 4.