My formal education was focused on Fine Arts, yet I consider every person an artist. No matter what you do or how you do it, you have your own sense of style.
But. If we do not rescue the Arts at this turning point in our nation’s history, our cultural identity will be reduced to basic marketing and data processing. We will all still be artists, but we won’t be any good.
When it comes to the visual arts and Arts education, we are in trouble. The struggling economy combines with an emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests to strangle the creativity from our national voice. Arts programs and teachers are being cut from the system like blooming branches, leaving nothing but a bare trunk.
That is the main reason I focused all the energies I had on electing Barack Obama as President of the United States. After our completely exhausting, yet utterly satisfying victory, the new website change.gov was launched. I rushed over to see how the platform for the Arts contained in my first link had been preserved. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
Before I go any further, I would like to introduce the work of Michael Murphy, exhibited in the Blackridge Gallery at Georgia College & University. The magnificent drawing at the top of this post is his, and his wire sculpture knocks my socks off. Mike was gracious enough to give me permission to host his stuff here, but you really need to visit his site to get the full effect. Again, that’s www.mmike.com. It will enrich your soul.
The swirling uncontrolled greed that George W. Bush and his cronies unleashed on our nation has depleted the resources necessary for the Arts to thrive in our schools. Barack Obama understands that “The Art Spirit” needs to have a home in education and in our culture as a whole. He clarified his position a bit more within an issues page on change.gov, and he actually admitted that he considers himself an artist!
Barack Obama’s Plan
Our nation’s creativity has filled the world’s libraries, museums, recital halls, movie houses, and marketplaces with works of genius. The arts embody the American spirit of self-definition. As the author of two best-selling books – Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama uniquely appreciates the role and value of creative expression.
At first I was conflicted. Whoever wrote “as the author of two best-selling books” should have known how crass and common that pitch would sound. When I calmed down enough to understand what it was trying to say (taking out the “best-selling” would help for me) I realized that basically…
Our new President Elect considers himself an artist. As should we all.
John Lee took that photograph. It was two years ago, as Barack the Artist was sharing his work with an appreciative audience during a book signing. His chosen medium has changed drastically in 24 months. He will now be molding the clay of the entire planet.
Of course the tiny blurb about the Arts on the new website is nothing substantial. It is still more than we have heard from anyone this close to the ability to enact real change. Combined with the call for feedback sitting one click away from it on the page, it is more than enough for me.
Our cries have been heard, and understood, and championed by a fellow creative soul. President Obama, we salute you. Artist to artist.
Whatever your style, whatever your most important issue, make sure you click around on change.gov until you find something to add to the new national suggestion box. There is a new day rising for feedback between the government and its people. Be creative with it, and express yourself. We are all artists in our own way. And now we have a President who understands that.