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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Presidential Candidates on Arts Funding?

Shouldn't the arts community (there are a lot of us after all) be requesting a statement from each presidential candidate about their arts funding priorities?

Of the major Democratic Candidates for President, only Dennis Kucinich mentions the Arts on his website, with basic and supportive platitudes and no hard pledges.

Of the Republican Candidates, I found not a single mention of the Arts on their websites.

Now, I'm not a simpleton: I know that the candidates are simply responding to and framing the issues they realize will sway voters in a national election. Iraq, Immigration and Healthcare will get these people elected, the NEA won't.

I'd be curious, as things move foward, what, if anything, is mentioned in interviews, debates and public statements about the arts and arts funding. Am I missing something? Has anyone heard the arts mentioned? If so, where?

NOTE: This from Playgoer, along these lines.


Anonymous said...

Sadly, I don't believe there is a strong community in the arts community to get that voice. (A small section of that community cried foul about ticket prices and nothing happened). Also - In a post 9/11 world most people I speak with find a mority of the Arts more along the lines of museum entertainment. It's not a big issue when there are people needing health care and suicide bombers. I know this is a very gross generalization and dark, but I believe its just a current moment and things change...it just might be a few more years before there is a cultural upswing.

Apostle Joe

Zack said...

I believe you won't hear mention of the arts from any serious contenders in the next two years. They are concerned with talking points, wedge issues, and polls.

I agree, Apostle Joe may be stating this in a more fatalistic and general way, but I also don't see any arts funding the next few years. Funding is even starting to be cut in England (the island paradise of subsidized theatre).

Freeman said...

If they cut funding in England, where will Broadway find plays?

Zack said...

Good question. But that is a whole other post entirely. Am I wrong?

Freeman said...

Well, yeah. That's me being glib. It's my speciality.

I think, though, that we concede too often the idea that the Arts are a minor issue or a non-issue. That's not to say I don't think Health Care is less important than Arts Funding. It isn't.

But... there are plenty of issues that are not more important than the arts, in terms of cultural health, and they are addressed on most candidates agendas, simply because those lobbies are huge. Gun Control, for example, is viewed as a vital issue. Amazing that we can't get an extra $1 billion dollars for beauty, but we can make sure hand guns get a full hearing in court.

Zack said...

Gun control is an issue, because of the lobbyists who are funded by defense contractors, gun manufacturers, and other members of the military industrial complex.

If we had more entertainment lobbyists who were lobbying for the arts as a whole we could get more funding. What's sad is that we have to constantly prove to the government what is in it for them?

They are willing to kill the planet has along as they can make money now.

Anonymous said...

Re: Military funding lobbyists.

Perhaps if a good percentage of our plays/dance/opera/etc. became anti islamic and pro defense(offense) we might get the issue of arts funding on the ticket ?
The Greeks kinda did it, right ?