Monday, July 13, 2009

Government and the Arts

By: Harry Waisbren

On my last day in DC this past week I found myself at the Smithsonian American Art Museum per a suggestion from Alan Rosenblatt (@drdigipol). Upon entering hte museum, I found myself eccstatic to see an exhibit entitled 1934: A New Deal for Artists. This is in large part because my father has long been one of the foremost scholars and collectors of the WPA arts programs, and unsurprisingly he has quite enjoyed a book covering the exhibit that I bought for him.

Furthermore, the knowledge I have gained from my father's passion has made me increasingly convinced that such funding of the arts is essential in today's comprable environment, making me look to such exhibits with a much keener eye. This money would be allocated as but one aspect of a new New Deal that I also believe must be established, as the importance of providing job assistance to artsts, writers, and anyone unfit for physical labor is quite integral. Government assistance should go to both the working and creative classes, and we can look to successful New Deal programs such as the Federal Arts Project as a corrollary to today.

I am hopeful that the organizations and individuals promoting a "Green New Deal" consider the need for more artistic elements to permeate as well. It would not only create jobs for a suffering part of the economy, but it will express the pain and agony of a country whose government has--once again--turned its back on them in a manner in which no policy paper could compare.

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