(Art from zeushadesposeidon)
It feels rather fitting. Here we are near the finish line, and the biggest reason I have been working so hard for Barack Obama has finally hit the interwebs big time.
As never before, in this century of instant communication and the dissemination of information, it is the culture of a people, of a nation that portends its influence and its standing throughout the world. Yes, armaments and weaponry still count, as does economic might, but who we are and what are our values are will have far greater impact in the minds of friend and adversary alike. And it is our art, our culture of today, playwrights and actors, our song writers and musicians, our choreographers and dancers, our poets and writers, our artists and museum curators, our filmmakers and our art visionaries of every kind. This is the America the world is keenly interested in learning more about, hearing, seeing, feeling, experiencing. It is also one of our great strengths. This is a talented and gifted land with vast reservoirs of energy to create and dream.
(Art from Le Silly)
As an artist, and even more as an art educator, I have never had this much hope in a presidential candidate. Barack Obama actually has a fully fleshed platform for the Arts:
To remain competitive in the global economy, America needs to reinvigorate the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country great. To do so, we must nourish our children’s creative skills. In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education.
Unfortunately, many school districts are cutting instructional time for art and music education. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that the arts should be a central part of effective teaching and learning.
The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts recently said “The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.”
(Art from a35mmlife)
Yes, that quote is part of the official Obama platform. I did not write that myself, and I did not pull it from an Arts Education magazine. This campaign actually understands what is necessary to regain America’s creative spirit. And they plan to do something about it.
(Art from Rudloff)
I have been phone banking my ear off these last precious days, and I consistently get parents who agree with this stance. The schools are losing all the enhancement programs that give their children an expanded sense of self. Clubs and music and art and dance and drama programs are being thrown away because of the tragic Bush economy and the criminally short sighted focus on high stakes standardized tests. Parents know how limited their childrens’ education has become. It’s time to do something about it.
(Art from craynol)
Barack Obama’s plan has three specific tactics, but his strategy will encourage all of us to get creative with the solutions to the real “culture war”. Here are the three seeds.
Expand Public/Private Partnerships Between Schools and Arts Organizations: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will increase resources for the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants, which develop public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations. They will also engage the foundation and corporate community to increase support for public/private partnerships.
Create an Artist Corps: Barack Obama and Joe Biden support the creation of an “Artists Corps” of young artists trained to work in low-income schools and their communities. Studies in Chicago have demonstrated that test scores improved faster for students enrolled in low-income schools that link arts across the curriculum than scores for students in schools lacking such programs.
Publicly Champion the Importance of Arts Education: As president, Barack Obama will use the bully pulpit and the example he will set in the White House to promote the importance of arts and arts education in America. Not only is arts education indispensable for success in a rapidly changing, high skill, information economy, but studies show that arts education raises test scores in other subject areas as well.
(Art from tsevis)
All of those are great ideas, and the Art Corps in particular sends exquisite chills through my body – directly to my creative spirit. And it gets me itching for the phone bank. We must win this, for our children and the cultural health of our nation. Hit the phones with me if you can. And, if you need yet another great reason for people to vote for Barack, stress the Arts.
We are on the right side of history, and it feels rather fitting that the final days of the campaign, for me, will be focused on this.
One last quote, from Raymond Learsy:
In Senator Obama’s opinion it appears the arts have become essential to reengage our standing in the world. According to an article in Bloomberg, he is the first White House contender to include a far- reaching arts-plank in his platform. Quoting Robert Lynch, president and chief executive officer of “Americans for the Arts” a highly respected Washington based arts advocacy group, “no presidential candidate in recent times has addressed cultural issues in such detail.”
(Art from january20th2009)