I know those of you in the U.S. are more than weary of this election cycle — and I’m certainly with you on that — but this is too important for me not to say my piece.
I’ll leave it to others to tell you how vital this election is in the general sense, and limit my comments to the state of the arts in the U.S.
Too often the actual issues are drowned out in the heated swirl of vitriolic “my side is right and your side is full of it” rhetoric.
In terms of the arts, I believe the outcome of this election will have a distinct and dramatic affect on:
- the future of arts education funding in schools
- the future of arts funding in the U.S. in general
- the availability of public funding for museums in particular
- the continued existence of the National Endowment for the Arts
- the continued existence of the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities, which makes many major art exhibitions possible by indemnifying the loan of artifacts from one museum to another, particularly in the case of international museum loans
- the standards by which contributions to art institutions are considered tax deductible
- the accessibility of college-level arts education to low and moderate income individuals
- the standards by which copyright law could be applied differently to large corporations than to individual creators
- the rules of arbitration by which freelancers could be denied payment or have their rights stripped by large companies without recourse to legal remedy
- the economic state in which art is purchased, and the availability of money to purchase art by individuals who are not in the wealthy upper percentage
- the relative freedom of individuals to effectively display and sell art on the internet (as opposed to the control over internet speed and content desired by the big telecoms — which is currently just barely restrained by government regulation)
- the pervading cultural attitude in the nation about whether art is even of value to society.
So, I implore you —
Don’t think the election won’t affect you as an artist or as someone who appreciates art.
Don’t forget that down ballot (congressional) races affect this too.
Don’t assume the election is a done deal.
Don’t think your vote doesn’t count.
Don’t say you’re too busy.
Don’t say you’re too tired.
Don’t say you have better things to do.
Don’t stay home.
For art’s sake, go out and vote.
(Images above: James Montgomery Flagg [top three], J.C. Leyendecker, Norman Rockwell [bottom three])