I don’t know if you knew that. That artists are people. People who are losing their jobs. People who raise kids and buy food. People just like everyone else. People who are doing a service to the community by making art. Art is important. Artists are important. But it seems some people in this country don’t think so.
The Coburn amendment that passed last night restricts the use of federal funding in the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act from being used by those in the arts. The actual language states:
None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, arts center, or highway beautification project..
Rep Jack Kingston actually said in reference to giving money to the NEA: “We have real people out of work right now and putting $50 million in the NEA and pretending that’s going to save jobs as opposed to putting $50 million in a road project is disingenuous.” (found on the createequity blog) Did you catch that? Real people. Artists aren’t real people our jobs don’t count.
I can’t even begin to describe my anger. I get even more angry as I read these quotes from op-ed’s from Americans for the Arts:
* “True to form, Congress has loaded the [bill] with hundreds of billions in wasteful spending. The bill includes $650 million for digital TV coupons, $140 million to study the atmosphere and $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. None of these proposals would create jobs or boost our economy. They’re just old-fashioned waste” – Op-ed in the Indianapolis Star
* “The National Endowment for the Arts would get $50 million for new exhibits to deem America racist and sexist.” – Op-ed in the Norwich Bulletin
* “The National Endowment for the Arts, for example, is in line for $50 million, increasing its total budget by a third. The unemployed can fill their days attending abstract-film festivals and sitar concerts.” – National Review Editorial
* “I just think putting people to work is more important than putting more art on the wall of some New York City gallery frequented by the elite art community.” [U.S. Rep Jack] Kingston said. “Call me a sucker for the working man.” – Congressional Quarterly report
So what can be done? Click here to let your Senator know what you think. Unless of course you are an artist in dc, ’cause we are just screwed on so many levels.