NEWS FLASH: GO PROTEST THE REPEAL OF ACA, THEN COME BACK AND READ THIS.
Why Hate Art?
Admit it – you hate Art. You’re an American, right? Then, you must hate Art. Even if you, yourself, are an artist like me, there’s something about it that bugs you, isn’t there? The evidence is clear: American people don’t like Art.
Just look at the “Populous President, number 45 – as soon as he gets into office, what is one of the first things he tries to do? Right: eliminate the NEA. (National Endowment for the Arts) Was that because it’s a big expensive program and a major drain on the budget that he is trying to balance? Well, no, it’s actually the opposite.
The NEA’s budget is a fraction of a percent to the country’s total, and could easily be covered by a few less trips to Mar-A-Lago, or the First Lady living in the White House for a week. So, it couldn’t be that.
So, why cut the NEA? We are left to conclude that #45, the People’s President, just doesn’t like it. And he knows the American people don’t like it either. (Though he did buy a painting at a charity auction once, but of course he did not pay for it himself. He used the funds he’d collected from others, to go to charity. And the painting was a portrait of himself, so it was a good marketing investment.)
Before we look further at why, let’s look at this specific case of the NEA. This agency give annual grants to major arts organizations, like the Kennedy Center. Perhaps your only interest is in your local community theater, an after-school drawing program, or your kid’s marching band. You’ve never even been to the Kennedy Center.
Your interests are small potatoes and not on the NEA radar. But wait, the NEA does fund other organizations, like the Southern Arts Federation and state arts councils around the country. They do disperse small grants to small programs in local areas. But why else should you care about the NEA?
Well, those big Arts organizations, like Kennedy Center, rely on those grants. When deprived of the NEA grants, try to make up their budgets by going after the other foundations, corporate sponsorships, and donors that were the small programs relied on. Suddenly, the marching band get “Sorry, nothing left this year.’ from a foundation that supported them for 20 years. The kids are forced to turn in their tubas.
So, again, why do we hate Art? I’ve boiled it down to 3 major topics:
- It looks like fun. (People shouldn’t be paid to have fun.)
- Anybody can do it, can’t they? (I did lot’s of drawings in kindergarten.)
- It’s a luxury, not a necessity. (You can’t eat a symphony.)
(Yeah, I really am going to leave it like that for now. A lot more can be said about these three points, both for and against, and I hope to say some of it in future posts, but for now, I want to hear what you have to say. AND YES I AM THANKFUL THAT THIS BILL WAS EVENTUALLY VOTED DOWN, BUT THE FACT THAT IT WAS EVEN UP FOR DISCUSSION IS A SYMPTOM OF A BIGGER PROBLEM.)
Mary McGinley is a theatre artist. She creates and directs plays. She also teaches acting and coaches actors in acting, Shakespeare and auditioning. (Which is how she got the nickname of Audition Physician.) She spent a large portion of her career on trying to sell Shakespeare to people who just don’t like Shakespeare. We think that left her bitter. She is currently organizing an Agit-Prop Theatre group to perform at protests in the NJ/NYC area. If you are interested in joining, contact her.