Updated 11/14: responding to my request for Massachusetts Obama art to add to this post, artist and calligrapher Emily Gallardo sent the above cross-stitched Obama portrait. More of her original pins are posted on her blog. Thank, Emily!
Whatever your politics, if you’re an artist or otherwise art-centric individual, you’ll be glad to hear that President-Elect Barack Obama has a vigorous arts policy.
In an October Bloomberg article, Americans for the Arts president Robert L. Lynch said that no candidate in recent history has crafted such a detailed arts platform. Obama’s arts ambitions include creating an Artist Corps to work with low-income schools and communities, increased funding to the National Endowment for the Arts, focus on healthcare for artists, and tax fairness (allowing artists to “deduct the fair market value of their work, rather than just the costs of the materials, when they make charitable contributions”).
He’s publicly made the case for arts education. And it bodes well that by the day after the election, he’d already named a leader for the transition team overseeing cultural agencies: Bill Ivey, who has led the NEA and the American Folklore Society. (I should note that he named all his transition teams on that Wednesday. But at least he didn’t leave the arts for day two!)
Many artists have reacted to Obama’s arts support with a right-back-atcha. There were countless artistic efforts in support of Obama’s candidacy, from street art to literary and visual art auctions to benefit concerts. There is an Arts and Creative Industries for Obama website. Artists made YouTube videos.
Perhaps most encouraging is knowing that arts luminaries like novelist Michael Chabon, a member of the policy committee, has Obama’s ear when he says things like:
America’s artists are the guardians of the spirit of questioning, of innovation, of reaching across the barriers that fence us off from our neighbors, from our allies and adversaries, from the six billion other people with whom we share this dark and dazzling world. Art increases the sense of our common humanity. The imagination of the artist is, therefore, a profoundly moral imagination: the easier it is for you to imagine walking in someone else’s shoes, the more difficult it then becomes to do that person harm.
(Quoted from the Obama Arts Committee statement)
Now that’s good policy.
Image: Emily Gallardo, Barack Obama portrait pin (2008), cross-stitch embroidery. Emily describes how she created the pin on her blog.
This is so good for our country, we finally have a leader who gets it. The arts are a necessity, not a luxury, to a well rounded education.
Tina Dickey says
There are three big problems in America: racism, isolationism, and economic turmoil. The artists can solve all three just by doing the work they normally do with more opportunities and fewer restrictions.
A simple solution is a sponsorship structure enabling tax-free donations to specific arts projects, with an eclectic internet network similar to http://www.change.gov, matching sponsors with artists/projects and vice versa, matching artists with schools, matching developers of artist studios/exhibition spaces with funding and artists. The less bureaucracy the better! The more international the better! The sponsorship structure could act as a clearinghouse for the training of the artist corps and to facilitate visas.
Jerry Breen says
As long as you’re on the subject of Obama art, as well as the subject of calligraphers, how about checking out my unique calligraphy portrait of Obama? You can check it out on my website at http://www.newbreen.com as well as on my blog at http://jerrybreen.blogspot.com . – Jerry Breen firstname.lastname@example.org
Herb Williams says
This is fantastic news. The arts have been on life-support for so long that they may need more stimuli to bring them out from their near comatose state. I know Bill Ivey, and he’s a very intelligent and sincere guy who is connected to enough folks who can make real change happen. If there is a way out from the enormous hole the past administration has left us in, hopefully Obama and Ivey can pull us out.
While you’re displaying Obama art, here’s a portrait I just finished that I used thousands of crayons to make: http://digg.com/arts_culture/Obama_Portrait_In_Thousands_of_Crayons?OTC-em-st1
let me know what you think.