Thank you for visiting our website

Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Frederick Co. MD "Up and Coming" Young Democrats

Elizabeth Plant Bio

Supporting the NEA Makes Sense

I was all ready to write about the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) this weekend. I was going to write about how the NEA is a worthwhile investment, and how it make sense for them to get some money from the stimulus package. (the money goes to grants, for theatres and museums and the other 14 disciplines of the NEA which makes it able for them to employ people). I still am… but not in the way that I had originally planned.

Instead, my dad said something that made me think. I was flying out the door to the "Young Dems" meeting, which I was running late for, and as I was putting on my shoes and coat being questioned by my family as to where I was going.

"Young Dems meeting!" I called as I hit the hallway. "Be back by 8!"

And to that, my father, who was facing the computer getting things done just says. "Go change the world." I replied, "don't worry."

I continued through the door and out to my car and finally recognized what my dad and I had just said. It made me stop which is why I was later than usual to my meeting. As I stopped at the bottom of the hill, I actually realized that's what I'm doing… well what I'm trying to do.

With the help of my friends I'm trying to do what I can to change the world. To make the world a better place, to show the area there are people who they need to recognize no matter how old they are. That there are people who they have to answer to and we're not going to be placated and sit by and watch them do things we don't like quietly.

Which is how I end up back at the NEA. As a person with a degree in Fine Arts, it shouldn't surprise anyone that I'm a major fan of the NEA. How awesome is it that we have a place who's mission is for them to be "a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education." (From the NEA website.) The NEA gives grants to a lot of different things from literature to dance, theatre and musical theater to reading initiatives, from folk and traditional arts to opera, on top of many other things and arts education. It makes it possible to have amazing arts life because that's what we need.

The arts are here to help us express the parts of our experience, whether it's a writing and putting up a play or writing a book or designing something that takes form or painting or sculpting something that evokes how someone feels about the time. Arts can change the world. The way cultures are remembered is by their art and their wars. There needs to be a movement to engage the people who are our artists, and for people to stop thinking about art and culture as optional. As Bill T. Jones (a choreographer) said in the LA Times Arts Blog last week "We must move past this notion that the arts and culture are somehow frivolous."

It makes sense to give economic recovery money to the NEA, to give money to theatres, artists, writers, museums, weavers, and other people who are capturing the emotions of the time or creating things that evoke the emotions that tell people how we were feeling.

But there is more than paintings that are subjective or a theatre project that doesn't move past off-off Broadway. Sesame Street, Julia Child, the Electric Company, Arthur, Car Talk, Wait… Wait Don't Tell Me!, and all those other amazing shows and programs on public television and radio. People don't realize how the NEA works. They are not just about the artists like the "NEA Four," who for those who don't remember were the four performance artists who had their grants vetoed in June of 1990, on the basis of their subject matter after passing through a peer review process.

Maybe this doesn't make sense to some of you. Why I want to change the world, why there arts are important, and why they are the same to me. I feel like the arts change people. It's a way that we can answer the call that is in front of us, a way to change the world. I will stand by that until you all hear me, because it is how I will do just that.


To receive "Daily Email Updates" from Air-it-Out with George Wenschhof, click on "Subscribe to this feed" below.

No comments: