Obama's Arts Policy - Reflections

Posted by Dr. Silagh White, Jan 11, 2009 0 comments

Earlier, I promised a report of the Obama House meeting I hosted at our campus office last month. Finals hit, then the holidays – but nothing delays my post more than following the news: retail woes, Senatorial appointment challenges, Israel-Palestine conflict and now Obama’s Economic Stimulus plan.

I was hoping to ignite some inspiration from the points of this document, especially given that Michael Chabon will be coming to campus in March. They had other concerns that diverted our discussion.

The students were focused on our campus’ cultural climate – how they thought their fellow students (for the most part) don’t value the arts as much as other leisure options. The students are trying desperately to figure out how to find others that DO value the arts, so they don’t feel so ostracized by their interests. It’s not that their peers don’t "get" the arts – they just haven’t had the proper introduction to develop a value for themselves. There are many opportunities for all students – but now these students need to work within the campus resources to build their momentum. The Obama Arts Policy is giving them hope.

But after this week’s speech (Jan 8)video link
President Elect Obama has managed to inspire me, but also cause some query. There was no mention of the arts in his economic stimulus plan. Why not?

I’ve spent some research time looking for summaries of FDR’s WPA program. Found some interesting sources. But really need to hear the prospective of a learned academian’s summary of that historical programs’ purpose, and successes in order to see the relevance for today’s lack of mentioning the Arts in Obama’s Economic Stimulus. I’m looking for some fighting words.

I need Rachel Maddow (MSNBC) to focus her one of her shows on this issue. Come on Rachel – talk me down!


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