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A President for Artists and Arts Education


What will an administration look like that supports and nurtures the arts and arts education?

In the blitz of emails I received leading up to the election last week, one of the most interesting was an email laying out President-Elect Obama’s Platform for the Arts. As an independent filmmaker who toiled for seven years on a documentary until I was granted funding by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), at times I feel like I won the lottery in getting the support and money I needed to finish my first film. I have met countless independent documentary filmmakers, all with incredible stories to tell, and all competing for the same grants to one day see their films on screen. I have been even more blessed to have worked with folks who truly believed in the power of diverse and original voices, and gave me the editorial freedom to tell my unique story. But others have not been so fortunate, and there are many great stories that may never reach an audience.

I became a filmmaker because I truly believe in the power of film to connect us to one another.  When we are moved by another human being’s story, it makes us more empathetic, it challenges us, it speaks to some aspect of our own life.  And before film, I was an arts teacher. I taught at a children’s performing arts camp one summer, where kids ages 5-14 went from music to theater to dance and arts classes, only breaking for lunch, and where they often continued dancing, playacting, and drawing. I realized what a gift it was to teach art, and how any child, when given an opportunity to learn and express him/herself, shines. I wished that I went to a camp like that growing up!

So I read with great interest Senator Obama’s Platform, as arts funding has dwindled and disappeared, and arts education programs are regularly cut. Here it is:

So what do you think? And what can we do, as artists and arts educators, to further this proposed Platform for the Arts?

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