Patrick Courrielche, a producer and arts marketer, was on a conference call from the NEA August 6, along with 75 other arts community types. Key paragraph from Patrick's post: "it felt to me that by providing issues as a cynosure for inspiration to a handpicked arts group - a group that played a key role in the President’s election as mentioned throughout the conference call - the National Endowment for the Arts was steering the art community toward creating art on the very issues that are currently under contentious national debate; those being health care reform and cap-and-trade legislation. Could the National Endowment for the Arts be looking to the art community to create an environment amenable to the administration’s positions?"
Final graph: "And if you think that my fear regarding the arts becoming a tool of the state is still unfounded, I leave you with a few statements made by the NEA to the art community participants on the conference call. “This is just the beginning. This is the first telephone call of a brand new conversation. We are just now learning how to really bring this community together to speak with the government. What that looks like legally?…bare with us as we learn the language so that we can speak to each other safely… “
Is the hair on your arms standing up yet?"
Now my objection to the NEA is more fundamental -- that it takes money from those with no interest in the arts to fund mostly the safe, the conventional and the mediocre, and through its influence encourages artistic cravenness. It would be no loss to the arts in America if the NEA disappeared, and would probably be a net gain for creativity and artistic independence. If it is also being used to promote political propaganda, that's pretty terrible too.