Vote like the future of the arts in the US depends on it.

Voting, James Montgomery Flagg, J.C. Leyendecker, Norman Rockwell
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])


13 Replies to “Vote like the future of the arts in the US depends on it.”

  1. In anticipation of the occasional bursts of outrage, snark and troll spittle that accompany any article in which I express an opinion that could be considered political, I’ll point out that nowhere in my article did I mention a particular individual or political party.

    I expressed my concern over arts related issues I believe will be affected by the election, and urged people to vote.

    If from that you infer that I’m talking about a particular political party or candidate — and you care about any of those issues — perhaps you could check your outrage long enough to stop and give that some thought.

  2. Thank you for this post. I hadn’t considered this aspect of the consequences of tomorrow’s election. And I whole-heartedly agree with you. One thing you left out, maybe on purpose, but I’ll mention it here in my comment: Censorship. Particularly censorship of editorial cartoons that are critical of certain people of power, speak truth through art, and portray non-flattering caricatures of said people of power.

  3. Thanks, Mark. Yes, art predates writing. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t gone through periods of suppression and repression that have made it difficult for creators to flourish. The political and social climate in which artists must work makes a big difference. Perhaps the difference I’m concerned about will be small in the context of history, but it won’t be small in the context of my lifetime.

  4. I’m glad you participated Mark; that’s important, even though the candidate who would have been healthier for the future of the arts in the U.S did not win. It was not my desire to silence a point of view, but to discourage complacency among those whose voices needed to be heard.

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