The Playgoer: Dana Gioia's NEA

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dana Gioia's NEA

"My objective has been to insist that there are things in our society that are neither right nor left...What I sought to do was to take arts and arts education out of the divisive and destructive rhetoric of the culture wars."

-Dana Gioia, the Bush-appointed Chair of the National Endowment of the Arts.

Gee, why not art from both right and left?

Having survived the entire Bush tenure, Gioia certainly deserves credit for keeping it from liquidation. And I suppose his strategy of inoffensiveness has been part of that.

Still--such a cowering statement is so sad, compared to the more vital and unafraid embrace of the arts in Europe. But, hey, this is America.

Gioia does offer some good ideas on how to "meet demand with supply" by matching unemployed actors and artists with underserved communities. And I like his outreach to military bases.

Of course, what a Democratic president will do with the NEA is a total mystery since it hasn't even come up in the primaries, so you can bet it won't surface at all in November.

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