On August 28, Bob Lynch, President & CEO of Americans for the Arts, talked about a recent meeting he had with new National Endowment for the Arts Chair Rocco Landesman. A podcast of the topic was previously posted on the arts blog but was later removed. The Washington Times downloaded a copy of the podcast. Here are some excerpts to Mr. Lynch’s monologue with audio clips:
He made the point that artists have kids that go to college and meals that have to be paid for and why shouldn’t people in the arts themselves and their jobs be as important as any other industry. He made the point that the arts have often been an unfair target ….often accused wrongfully of being elitist and other things, and so his job as he sees it is to right that wrong and make some noise about the value of art and artists and the American life.
One of the things I’m excited to hear is that he thinks that the artists’ grants at he NEA should be restored, and he has some great new ideas. Home equity loans in a program called “Our Town.” That will also look at subsidies to arts organizations and artists that want to move downtown…use public art for the revitalization of downtown communities and encouraging public private partnerships to make towns better…cities better through the arts.
One of the things I think is really important for us to be looking at together, the NEA and American for the Arts, is how to connect to all of government. I had the opportunity to connect this summer with Michelle Obama and now we are working with the National Endowment of the Arts and the White House Service initiative on ways to showcase the service value the volunteerism value of the arts in America. At the same time I recently had a chance to work with speaker Pelosi who helped us so much with getting economic recovery money for the arts, and I understand how hard she is working to get health care reform for everyone in America, and my feeling is that artists can very much benefit from health care reform, and so we are working to advance that issue as well, but with the NEA, on many different fronts, whether its education. Whether it is working with the White House on service initiatives, whether it is looking at a way to use the arts to improve our downtowns and to create new opportunities for artists connecting to every one of America’s issues as a part of the solution not part of the problem.