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John McCain’s Arts Policy, At Last


by Jerome Weeks 8 Oct 2008

His campaign finally released a statement about government and the arts. Here it is, in its entirety: John McCain believes that arts education can play a vital role fostering creativity and expression. He is a strong believer in empowering local school districts to establish priorities based on the needs of local schools and school districts. […]

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His campaign finally released a statement about government and the arts. Here it is, in its entirety:

John McCain believes that arts education can play a vital role fostering creativity and expression. He is a strong believer in empowering local school districts to establish priorities based on the needs of local schools and school districts. Schools receiving federal funds for education must be held accountable for providing a quality education in basic subjects critical to ensuring students are prepared to compete and succeed in the global economy. Where these local priorities allow, he believes investing in arts education can play a role in nurturing the creativity of expression so vital to the health of our cultural life and providing a means of creative expression for young people.

The statement was released last week to the Salt Lake Tribune. Julie Checkoway’s article, “McCain’s anticipated arts policy comes in at four sentences long,” is here. Lee Rosenbaum’s CultureGrrl blog has more: “I’d call that an education policy, not an arts policy.”

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  • Rawlins Gilliland

    At the risk of beating both the home team drum and a dead horse, let’s look at why this makes both PBS/NPR and The National Endowment for the Arts indespensible. Per the latter and schools, my long ago NEA grant took me into schools where I did poetry wokshops to get kids to paint with words. How can learning that words and our language are a powerful and palpable way to overcome shyness, develop a sense of self, help make being sensitive rather than macho seem manly, make atistic expression seem sexy instead of geeky.

    There too NPR/PBS picks up slack that would be nonexistent if there was not public support in tandem with political partnership. When television, radio and public education offer no ongoing intergral exposure to art,…made to seem ‘unimportant’ and superfluous, …..we lose more than one could imagine. And when support for public art and education thereof becomes politicized as the bastion of one party vs another, the result becomes a celebration of mass anti-intellectualism instead of individual and collective wisdom.

    As my artist parents used to say to me and my sister: “Read between those lines.”