Thursday, April 10, 2008

National Endowment for the Arts

America faces scores of issues we delve into them (or try to) each and every day here on policythought. The nation is transfixed, as it should be, on issues like global warming, the economy, the war in Iraq, national healthcare, and so on. But in our national conversation over where our precious few dollars go, one institution continues to suffer-The National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA has a 2008 operating budget of about $144 million. That sounds like a lot, but it's roughly the same funding it received in the 1980's. This money is spread across a wide variety of grants and projects, meant to enhance arts in America.

America has a vested interest in keeping the arts and arts education well funded across the country. A nation of artists is a nation of thinkers. Artists inspire us to think in new ways and push us to innovate. Proper funding of the arts would make it possible for average Americans, not just the economic elite to sit in our symphony halls, and grand opera houses. It would make it possible for dance, and painting, and sculpture and video art to exist not just for the very wealthy, but for all of us. Experiencing art everyday opens one to new possiblities.

We need our minds opened to the new, now more than ever.

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