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Re: [BKARTS] Secretary of Arts Petition



Well, one argument to be made: Much of the culture (music, literature, visual art), as well as the infrastructure (roads, sewers, bridges and tunnels across the country) our nation has enjoyed for the past 60+ years was created under the rubric of the Works Progress Administration. The WPA was implemented with relatively little bureaucracy, but with enormous deficit spending. The rationale behind employing artists, composers, actors, and writers as well as builders and ditch diggers, was that professionals in the arts had to support their families, too. (Fancy that!) These were not handouts--they were government sponsored jobs provided to individuals who demonstrated need. Economists and culture mavens alike agree that generations of Americans have led safer, richer (economically, intellectually, culturally) lives owing the success of the WPA. Such a component of economic recovery now deserves strenuous advocacy.

If you've any interest in investigating this further, read (or just read a review of) American Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA--When FDR Put our Nation to Work by Nick Taylor, or download the podcast of NPR's WOSU Open Line w/ Fred Anderle from 1/9/09 at http:// www.wosu.org/radio/radio-open-line/?archive=1

RM

On Jan 14, 2009, at 1:50 PM, Paul T Werner wrote:

Useful, how? You seem to be saying that a "Secretary for the Arts" would be able to bring in the bacon for artists like yourself, the way the Secretary of the Treasury brings in money for Wall Street speculators. I'm still waiting for a convincing case that direct Government handouts to artists like yourself (or handouts to Wall Street speculators for that matter), are necessary to sustain the Economy as a whole, and if so, I'd like to hear in what way direct Government involvement would offer a substantial improvement over "the system" as it is now. Not to mention some kind of discussion of the possible drawbacks of Government involvement, political, economic or aesthetic.

There are, obviously, other angles to this issue; and if I raise this one in particular it's because the petition I am asked to sign does not bother to give one single reason why I should sign it; It does, however, run alongside a paid banner add telling me how I can get free money from the Government. Is that the breadth and depth of the argument?


Paul Werner, New York http://theorangepress.com

WOID: A journal of visual language
THE ORANGE PRESS, publishing "Vellum Preparation: History and Technique"
DRAGONSBLOOD AND ASHES, a project to research and practice the techniques of the medieval scribe



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Annual Arnold Grummer Press sale now online at
<http://www.philobiblon.com/suppliers.shtml#Press_Sale>
Please note that attachments to listserv messages are not permitted,
and are automatically removed by the listserver.
For all your subscription questions, go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information.
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