Cultural Policy Suggestions for the New Administration

With attention focusing more and more intently on the incoming Obama administration, I thought I would pull my readers’ attention to a list of cultural policy suggestions that former Whitney and SFMOMA director David Ross compiled last month.

Ross put out the list on his Twitter feed, and since it’s now so far removed, I will list them below:

  1. Support and sign bill giving artists tax incentives for donating their work to museums.
  2. Create a new public work program for artists and writers.
  3. Develop a realistic federal funding to support the general operating costs of American art museums and other public art institutions.
  4. Restore federal and state funding for artists, writers and musicians.
  5. Invest in K-12 art and music education to help prepare a new generation of American artists as well the new American audience.
  6. Revive a renewed Arts America program, once again using great American art and music to tell the American story abroad.
  7. Simplify and expedite the obtaining of visas for visiting foreign artists, musicians, writers and academics.
  8. Consider the creation of a cabinet-level post for culture. This would begin to heal the wounds of the culture wars.
  9. Review, refine, and strengthen tax laws supporting gifts of works of art to American museums to encourage critically important patronage.
  10. Create an emergency bail-out fund for cultural institutions in dire need. A mere $250 million would do.

Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes annotates the list by its chances of success:

A couple of the provisions (1, 7) already have a good amount of support in Washington. Many of the rest are notably progressive (3, 6) and would re-inject the government in the direct funding of the creation of culture (2, 4). All should be examined by the Obama Administration’s cultural transition team, which is led by former NEA boss Bill Ivey.

The LA Times’s blog Culture Monster expounded upon item 10 on the list. With the recent news that some mayors and governors are including museums and other cultural institutions on their infrastructure bailout wish lists, thislast item  could well become a reality.

Do you have any suggestions for more items on this list? Add your comment below.


~ by David Cupp on January 6, 2009.

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