Friday, January 9, 2009

Secretary of the Arts?

We received a mass email today that went out to all TAL members:

Quincy Jones has started a petition to ask President-Elect Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts. While many other countries have had Ministers of Art or Culture for centuries, The United States has never created such a position. We in the arts need this and the country needs the arts--now more than ever. Please take a moment to sign this important petition and then pass it on to your friends and colleagues.

We at Catclaw certainly support the idea of an "Arts czar" in principle, although we expect it would degenerate into the same cut-throat jockeying for position that already goes on in the grant-hustling world. One beneficial thing that a Secretary of the Arts could institute would be an official United States of America theatre, and an official United States of America art gallery, representing our nation's arts from an all-inclusive perspective. Now that we'd like to see.

With all the problems Obama has been stuck with by the previous administration, we don't foresee arts funding to be anywhere near his top priority, nor should it be. (Catclaw is not a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and does not seek State or Federal arts grants. What we do is funded solely by our own private fundraising efforts and self-determinism.)

And lastly, the "Petition Online" is hardly a reputable or useful vehicle for pitching a major restructuring of the Federal Government via a new cabinet post (especially so soon after the previous administration has spent billions on another new cabinet post, the useless Department of Homeland Security). We're looking into the possibility of lobbying the incoming Obama administration through Jeffrey Scott Holland's Washington, D.C. bureau.