The National Endowment for the Art of Persuasion?

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by Patrick Courrielche
At Andrew Breitbart Presents Big Hollywood
25 August 2009

[Ed. Earlier this week Patrick appeared on Glenn Beck’s program to discuss this topic after providing Beck with audio tapes and emails from the NEA. His profile on Twitter says, “Husband Father Tolerance Libertarian Liberty Lakers Music Ideas Filmmaker”]

I recently wrote a critique of the art community’s lack of dissent in the face of many controversial decisions made by the current administration. Entitled “The Artist Formerly Known as Dissident,” one of the key points argued in the article was the potential danger associated with the use of the art community as a tool of the state. Little did I know how quickly this concern would be elevated to an outright probability.

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Sometime between when I finished the critique and when it went live online, I was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to take part in a conference call that invited a group of rising artist and art community luminaries “to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda – health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal.”

Now admittedly, I’m a skeptic of BIG government. In my view, power tends to overreach whenever given the opportunity. It’s a law of human nature that has very few exceptions. That said, 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?

Before arguing why I see this as a gross overreach of the National Endowment for the Arts and its mission, a brief background on the conference call is needed.

The entire article is worth reading.

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