Congratulations President Elect Barack Obama!
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
Government involvement in the arts is like the porridge in the Goldilocks-Three Bears story. It has to be "just right."
Obama is brainy enough to get the support going toward education so that young people begin to know and appreciate the arts once more. Then, perhaps sometime later, free enterprise can truly kick in--yep, it works in the arts too.
Obama wants to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and change the Federal Tax Code for artists.
He has ideas like sending out "Artists Corps" to underprivileged schools and communities, expansion of public-private partnerships to increase cultural education programs, cultural diplomacy and the inclusion of foreign talent, less inward-looking xenophobia all 'round, as well as health care for artists.
Obama also backs Senator Patrick Leahy's "Artist-Museum Partnership Act," allowing artists to deduct the fair market value of work given to charitable institutions. We might hope that this enlightenment may shine on fundraisers too.
Positive change in this last area would do wonders for charities. Fundraisers would attract better and more valuable art, raise standards, and would give relief to perpetually beleaguered artists. Think of the value to educational institutions alone.
"It is unprecedented," says Robert L. Lynch, CEO of "Americans for the Arts," a Washington-based arts advocacy group. "No presidential candidate in recent times has addressed cultural issues in such detail."