June 11, 2017

Eighty Black and White Drawings

Sometimes others offer suggestions that might be not bad ideas, but I resist acting upon them because they involve a lot of time and energy with no certain rewards. Yet I have followed two of them. The first one was to create a digital catalogue of my art works, replete with images, descriptions and catalogue numbers. It was a lot of work at first to hunt down older works and to scan old slides. But now I make it a daily habit to catalogue. At the very least, it makes images always at the ready to send to a client, upload to a web site, or have on hand for someone who might be writing about my work.

The second piece of advice also required a lot of work, but not fortunately not nearly as much cataloguing a life’s work. This second piece of advice I actually heard twice. And since I heard it twice it seemed like it would be worth considering. I had written a book of poetry many years ago for just over one hundred small square paintings. Someone at an exhibition of these paintings suggested I do them all over again as black and white drawings and create a book out of them. "Black and white would be so much more economical to print," he added.

Last year a friend helped create a PDF file of the book in color. "You might think about doing all these over again as drawings, as black and white would be so much easier to print," she mentioned. It would have been easiest at that point to simply suggest converting the color book into a black and white book, but I saw an opportunity here in that many of my paintings were created from drawings. Since these were only studies they were hastily done and not intended as finished products. But since I was already do so much work on paper I decided to flesh out these old drawings, creating new drawings when there were no preparatory sketches.

As the months have rolled by on this project, I’ve put together a nice collection of figurative drawings. I had settled on doing about eighty drawings and have just passed the halfway point at forty-four completions. The last two, the drawing for "The Contortion," and the drawing for "The Red Shirt" are here. But how, exactly does one convey the feeling of a red shirt in a black and white drawing?

June 9, 2017

Recycled Drawings

Going solar as well as going with a green roof on my house have both proven to be untenable. One for lack of sunshine, the other for lack of consensus. So I will be needing to do other things to reduce my carbon footprint. I do the usual recycling, composting of perishables, and although it’s a strain we’re holding out with just one car.

This week, I decided to recycle bad drawings. Hmmm...bad drawings. My client’s agent told her this week that all my drawings were bad, but that’s another story. Let’s just say that I’m recycling the drawings that I personally don’t like but are on decent paper that I wish to reuse rather than discard.

I chose a large charcoal and pastel drawing and applied an eraser to it. Scrubbing out the drawing in a rhythmic way created a ground texture that forms a new platform from which to work. The seated lady still comes through, ghost-like, so I decide to play with her form. Another figure enters...a man strolling and swinging a suitcase. I had grabbed him off the internet. Now the lady sprouts extra arms like a Tibetan goddess. Colors are added and something quite different emerges from the original.

Most of my work this summer will be like this. New drawings will be made from old ones until I run out of paper.   I hope that my paper does not run out before my inspiration to do this!

June 4, 2017

Science Marches On

Six weeks ago I took part in the South Carolina branch of the March for Science. There was something special about this march, a gathering really, of enthusiastic supporters of science and inspiring speakers. It occurred to me that this is really an ongoing march - a rally for fact based writing and research, a rally for responsible health care, a rally to side with those who put responsibility for the preservation of our planet’s resources above partisan politics.
I have not taken part in a rally since then, but have contacted a few of the speakers at this initial rally in hopes of finding out more about them. I heard back from just two, Professor Tameria Warren, and the poet Tara Powell. They make for an interesting contrast, Professor Warren so quiet and reflective and Ms. Powell so exuberant. Her rousing poem, "Incident Report," is published on the web for all: http://jasperproject.org/what-jasper-said/llxk9y9mslnkfyw7dt22gl9ahn5h96
Professor Warren, by contrast, sent me a hand written speech which seemed more like a private, intimate letter of concern. I felt a certain sense of honor to receive it. Her speech made a pithy yet earnest appeal for science education, especially to train youth of color, for it is more often than not their communities that bear the brunt of science skeptics, climate change deniers, and corporate greed over community need.
For my part, I made two more painted snakes appealing for proper, affordable health care for the citizens of this country. I hold out hope that one day we will have a sensible and empathetic government that truly represents the needs of its people. I have been giving alternative names to these painted snakes, based upon precious objects. These two are the turquoise snake and the ruby snake.
The painted snakes, in their bold messages from afar and intricate patterns up close, represent how I experience the world of science. Many think of science as an agglomeration of facts and figures that lead us to correct conclusions about reality. To me, science is about the infinite revealed through the wonders of scale. Like Tara Powell’s poem , science points outward towards the cosmos, evinced by the solar system worn on her son’s head. Science is also like professor Warren’s analysis of community, plunging ever inwards towards the structure of things. It is both micro and macrocosmic depending upon how we direct our gaze. How deep can we go? How far outward can we see?

Many are angered at the disrespect leveled at science today. I am saddened by those who would cut themselves off from the wonder of scale, from the desire to extend vision, hearing and touch out towards the universe and down to the very core of being.

Wraith Infirmity Muses Literary Magazine

Three drawings from my book manuscript, You Look Great! Making Invisible Disease Visible, were published today in Wraith Infirmity Literary Magazine.  The drawings illustrate various aspects of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  I will discuss more about the individual drawings later.
https://wraithinfirmitymuses.wordpress.com/wraith-infirmity-muses-volume-1-1-spring-17/

June 3, 2017

A Congress of Crows

Last night I finished an illustration for Kristina Miller’s book Woodland Harmonies. The story was cleverly didactic and featured crows as the main characters. Although a children’s story in format, it has very much an adult theme - the crows get together after work to meet at a local bar in a tree called, naturally, The Crow Bar. Getting tipsy, they start to become, as Miller puts it, "a raucous caucus," and decide to challenge each other to a nest building contest. They then divide themselves into distinctly dysfunctional groups. One group has a dictatorial leader who tolerates no constructive input from the rest of the group. Others are overly analytical and can never seem to get the project started. Clearly they represent human dynamics at its worst as they attempt to build hopelessly ludicrous nests. Fortunately the story has a happy ending, with the one egalitarian group volunteering to help repair the nests of the other groups and show them how these things are done (had that group not had as much to drink?)

While doing some background research for the project, I came across a list of names for gatherings of different types of birds. A group of crows is called a congress of crows. Congress. Now that was a word I was trying to avoid thinking about these days. I noticed that there was no word for a gathering of booby birds. A senate of boobies anyone?

April 26, 2017

Eggs of Concrete - Over But Not Easy

The long awaited tree removal finally took place this spring. We had two immense pine trees downed last autumn by Hurricane Matthew. Like many folks in Orangeburg, we were put on a long waiting list for tree removal. Months rolled by, with everything in disarray and no way to get to the broken fence and the steady accumulation of seasonal debris. In a final act of exasperation, my husband contracted with city workers to come over to our house after work at the local park. They removed the trees alright, but left a path of destruction in the wake of the heavy equipment. Insurance covered neither the property damage, nor the damage from the removal. Cement walls were toppled, hillsides gauged out, gardens plowed under and a large cement platform in the corner of the yard cracked beyond repair. So for the last three months, I rolled up my sleeves and set to work repairing the yard as best as I could on my own. During the restoration, I made a number of discoveries and even found inspiration for some art work.

Inspiration can come from unusual sources. The only art work I completed recently, other than my giant painted snakes for science, were paintings of large egg shapes. Looking at them one might conclude that they are symbols of life or fertility. They are not. They were inspired by the shapes of the huge cement slabs I was trying to remove on my own but could not - until I carved them in to egg shapes and rolled them down my driveway. The largest cement "eggs" had to be manually rolled out to the street. The smaller ones, albeit still quite large, could be rolled in to a wheelbarrow and taken out that way.

My three paintings of cement eggs were painted on Masonite. I found that the stamps I had created for my science snakes fit nicely in to the oblong shapes. The acrylic paint was mixed with mica dust and the impasto texture with washes on top created a nice texture - like paint on a rock face.

For the final painting, I used sized paper. Here I used a number of large and small stamps. The small round stamps were inspired by the granite stones found in the cement aggregate. The large leaf stamps were fashioned after the leaves from the magnolia tree I passed on my route to the street. In the very center of my concrete egg, I placed a red print from a stone seal that was carved for me by a Chinese calligrapher some decades ago. The words read "persist until the very end." Three months was a long time to persist in cement removal.

April 24, 2017

Science Snakes and the Science March in Columbia, South Carolina - and a Sister in Sarasota

Saturday, April 22 arrived. That long awaited date for the Earth Day/Science march on Washington was here. It was time to debut my science snakes at the sister march in Columbia, SC. The snakes, painted with elaborate designs of acrylic washes, mono printing with large stamps, mica dust and graphite, were stuffed the day before and their "rattle" tails added. In keeping with the Earth Day theme, for the most part the snakes were stuffed with recycled materials. The narrow snakes came in to firm three dimensional being when filled with large plastic gallon jugs for bottled water. The thicker snakes were filled with a combination of bubble wrapped plastic gallon jugs as well as recycled Styrofoam peanuts. To ensure a good fit and prevent leakage of the peanuts, these were first wrapped in recycled plastic supermarket bags - lest my science snakes become the giant peanut pooping pythons. Stuffing the snakes took much longer than anticipated. I learned from previous experience that if the peanuts are not condensed enough, the snake becomes floppy and difficult to carry. So I rather tediously chopped up the Styrofoam peanuts before stuffing each bag.

The open center section of each of the shorter snakes ( front and back of the larger snakes) was sealed with velcro. Placing individual bags inside the snakes as well as using units of plastic gallon jugs enabled me to pull one of these out of the center section in order to collapse the snakes in to halves or thirds. Modest engineering skills to be sure, but this did enable us to fit these giant serpents in to the back of our van.

Thankfully, we had help. Our friend and colleague Si Hui, who teaches Chinese at the nearby university, rode in with my husband and I to Columbia. We were preceded by our friends Lee Malerich and her husband Glen, who took two snakes in the back of their car. Since Lee and Glen made it to the State House ahead of us, meeting up with daughter and grandson, they obligingly paraded around the state house grounds with the Vaccine Snake and the National Parks snake. The youngest activist for science of their entourage, carried the head of the snake.

It was a sunny and hot day. I was much too over-heated to carry snakes, let alone stand and listen to the talks. Yet and interesting solution presented itself to this strained body: the snakes fit almost perfectly on the steps of the State House. So there we placed them there - like offerings from some giant cat of mythological proportions. I then sequestered myself under various shade trees and on the dark side of walls, dousing water on my face to keep my dysautonomia at bay. To my delight, and to the glee of everyone who helped, the snakes were photographed numerous times. One dramatic view even made its way to The State newspaper.

The artful science snakes were a colorful attraction, and hopefully encouraged participation. I thought of the one snake who was not present, The Jade Snake for the EPA. I had sent him off to my cousin in Sarasota for their sister march. My cousin graciously offered to sew this for me, as I had no sewing machine and sewing these things by hand was getting quite tedious. The picture at right features EPA snake marching along in Sarasota.

There were numerous other very creative signs at the state house march; A Don’t Tread on DNA sign, a man dressed in a lab coat and leaf underwear bearing a sign which read, "Without science you are naked and afraid." I could not see many of these closely as the security officers at the march told me that I was obliged to sit by my snakes. So I was rather glued to my spot at the state house steps, thwarted in my desire to mingle and visit booths.

What I could do, but also sometimes just barely due to a hearing deficit, was listen to the speeches. There were sixteen presenters altogether, representing scientists, science teachers, science advocates, two poets, and spiritual leaders. For the heat of the day, and the frailty of my body, it was probably sixteen too many. (Indeed, I noticed that other satellite science marches, such as the one in Asheville, NC limited their speakers to four) And yet provocative phrases from their talks made their way to my ears and in to my consciousness from time to time - enough to warrant closer scrutiny and investigation. But how?

Who has not attended a rally, heard talks while distracted by time, weather, and discomfort, and wondered what they might have missed? For most rally attendees with robust attention spans and stalwart bodies, hopefully not as much as myself. And yet, the forcefulness of emcee Arik Bjorn’s exhortations to make the science march a continuum did resonate to my soul and intellect, as did his stern warning about the dire state of affairs with regard to South Carolina’s standing in education nationally. It was serious enough stuff to inspire me to review my program notes and contact all presenters personally to inquire about transcripts of speeches.

Fortunately the first person to respond to my inquiry was keynote speaker professor Hector Flores, from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics. His was a short, yet beautifully written speech which encapsulated all the exaltation and wonder of science along with the trepidation about how scientific details may be lost in the deluge of social media discourse. I was glad to have the opportunity to peruse his statements again as it touched upon my own concerns regarding social media - great for staying in touch, not always good for accuracy or depth. And I loved the allusions to Darwin and Wallace. As an artist also in possession of a biology degree, some of my favorite writings come from 19th century science texts illustrated by the authors. (Alexander Von Humboldt comes to mind here). https://www.scgssm.org/sites/default/files/march_for_science_talk_april_22_2017.pdf

Professor Duncan Buell, from the University of South Carolina, had his speech on Computer Science and Engineering already online for review. It was an interesting reflection on how we may forget how relatively new the internet really is and how support for cyber security is so crucial, given the vast amount of data on line. Vulnerable databases do make one a little itchy just thinking about it.

Today I packed away my painted snakes, as I await correspondence. I look forward to keeping the dialogue open and minds receptive. 

March 25, 2017

Jade Snake for Earth Day

The muslin wrapping, or skin, of my next Liberty Snake for Earth Day has just been painted. This one took about two days to paint for the overlapping patterns and textures. This time I used a series of small stamps to build up the patterns. 
As this project is progressing, I am interpreting "snake" with greater artistic license. They are increasingly just long paintings with a head and a tail. In fact the head and tails even have different patterns. For this last snake, I even painted both sides of the snake with different patterns. And looking towards a future when someone might like to have one, I now only letter the slogan on one side, leaving a proud owner of the work the option of hanging the work with just the design side showing. 

My pet name for this snake is The Jade snake, so named for the vibrant dark blues and greens. It reminds me of some of the dark jades I used to see in China. Jade snake is embellished on one side with prints of leaves. It seemed fitting for Earth Day. His slogan calls for the preservation of the EPA. My reading material for my painting this week has been a history of the Environmental Protection Agency. We need it.  

I am hoping to find someone with a sewing machine willing to have a try at sewing this snakes up. I fear though, that they might be too heavy and that I’ll be obliged to painstakingly stitch them by hand. I was originally going to make ten. I might just cap this project at seven.

March 22, 2017

A Liberty Snake for Zika Vaccine

I have returned to my Liberty Snake project. In order to decide what to write on the snakes for The Science March on Washington I have been doing more science reading. I just finished a book on climate change. Yesterday I read up on the Zika virus. After reading CDC reports, a great op ed piece by Bernie Sanders, and a New York Times magazine article on families in Brazil raising zika brain damaged children, I lettered "Don’t Tread on Our Right to Vaccines" on my white snake.

Follow the links here to the original articles: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/11/health/zika-virus-brazil-birth-defects.html?_r=0

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/opinion/bernie-sanders-trump-should-avoid-a-bad-zika-deal.html?_r=0

The patterns on the snake were mostly done with large stamps over acrylic washes. Details were painted on with metallic pigments and liquid graphite. The colors were influenced, rather oddly, by the costumes in a performance I was watching of Der Rosenkavalier, by Richard Strauss - all those silks, satins and lace!

Certainly the festive colors on the snake belie a sobering story. What Bernie Sanders is railing against, and rightfully concerned about, is Trump’s potential "deal" with a French pharmaceutical company, giving them sole rights to the vaccine. Putting these rights in the hands of private industry would mean that they can set any price they want to for the vaccine. Senator Sanders points out that American Taxpaper money has already been spent, to the tune of billions, for the CDC to develop the vaccine. Now if a pharmaceutical company is given free reign to charge anything they want to dispense it, we essentially have to pay twice. But perhaps the ultimate danger here is that zika, as we have seen in the infants born with devastating microcephaly (mini-brain), potentially has broad implications for our public health.  We have a man heading our Health and Human Services who belongs to a fringe organization that does not believe in mandatory vaccines, (and who refused to answer the question about whether he supports mandatory vaccination at his confirmation hearing) a president who has superstitions about vaccines and may be setting up a system that could financially discourage citizens from getting the vaccine.

Could this mean that the U.S. might end up like Brazil? Babies born with a profound birth defect to mostly the poor and the young? I think possibly yes. We live in a country where there has been a growing indifference to civic responsibilities - if it doesn’t affect me then why bother? And our present administration encourages that shirking of responsibility towards our fellow citizens - all in the name of "freedom of choice." Men don’t give birth to babies so why should they have to get a vaccine? Never mind that zika can be sexually transmitted to a pregnant woman. I’ve already heard plenty of conservative males complaining that they shouldn’t have to pay for insurance that also covers the health care needs of women (although they’re often okay with women having to pay for health care needs peculiar to men). Rather foreshadows a potential debacle ahead if this sentiment extends to vaccinations.

March 20, 2017

Abolish the NEA? An Observation about the Old Debate

For the past week, I have been trying various methods to manage a downturn in health. My approach to pain management is perhaps somewhat unconventional but effective for me. I sit underneath a warm blanket, take my antibiotics, sip my warm liquids and read government documents. It took a whole day to read The National Endowment of the Arts, A History: 1965 -2008. It was exciting, informative and thought provoking literature for me. It felt, at least in a tangential way, autobiographical. The NEA was founded when I was just eight years old, in 1965. In my own life time of devotion to creating art, educating about art, and developing a non profit art corporation I’ve seen many social and economic changes with regard to who funds art, how it is funded, and for what purpose. That is why this book I was reading paralleled my own life in many ways and felt more like an intimate reminiscence than an objective historical overview.

The day after I finished reading this document, a former colleague brought George Will’s opinion piece in the Washington Post to my attention. It was funny to read his calls for the dismantling of this agency after reading the NEA document because here was an example of history repeating itself in the person of the same dark knight that was trotted out by the media when the NEA was going to be dismantled under President Ronald Reagan. The man and his message have not changed at all, despite time, change and opportunities to learn. This time, Mr. Will has others who rally to the cause, albeit in slightly different ways. Having worked so long in the arts and having just read a history, perhaps now would be a good time to take a fresh look at an old struggle in hopes of finding better ways of forming solutions.

Firstly, meaningful discourse can only happen when people are on the same page with regard to facts and actual occurrences. This happened. How do we feel about it? Are there different ways to solve the problem? But around controversial issues, like the recent calls to abolish the National Endowment for the Arts, for instance, a simple formula seems to be promulgated that serves no one well. The formula is this: A conservative writer writes a piece that includes a range of misleading presentations, out of context observations, and fragmentary information. The liberal, or left leaning response is to wax sentimental about how we feel about such things, throw platitudes at it if feeling philosophical, or invectives if feeling outraged. Little to no fact checking seems to be involved. So we end up with different interpretations of alternate realities from which no one can possibly learn anything because nothing consequential or evidence based is presented.

I will illustrate with two example of a conservative’s call to abolish the National Endowment for the Arts. The first comes from George Will. Here is a link to his article. http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/03/the_nea_is_a_government_frill.html I would like to examine a statement from this article:

" Let’s pretend counterfactually that the NEA no longer funds the sort of rubbish that once immersed it in the culture wars, e.g. "Piss Christ" (a photo depicting a crucifix immersed in a jar of the artist’s urine" and "Genital Wallpaper" (don’t ask). What, however, is art?" -George Will

First of all, counterfactually is not a word. Let’s pretend that George Will means "counter to the facts" or counter factually. This implies to me that George Will thinks that not only has the NEA funded this "rubbish" in the past but is continuing to do so. He doesn’t help us out much by not including the context, time, place or even so much as the artists’ names so it forces readers to do some research - if they are so inclined and unfortunately most are not. Nor do they have the time and energy. Writers like Mr. Will count on that.

First, let’s look at context. The "Piss Christ" debacle, as well as the "Genital Wallpaper" incident, are both about three decades old. "Piss Christ" was a piece that was included in an exhibition funded by the NEA. "Genital Wallpaper" alludes to an artwork that was not funded by the NEA. (In other words, not true). "Piss Christ" was indeed a photograph of an ivory colored crucifix surrounded by a murky gold. I recall seeing the original photograph some decades ago. It was actually not offensive to me. The title was what people found offensive - that mixing up of the sacred and vulgar - and the fact that it confessed to being the artist’s own body fluid. The artist was photographer Andres Serrano, and submerging objects into bodily fluids and photographing them was how he made his pictures in the late 1980's. http://www.artnet.com/artists/andres-serrano/ His work caused great controversy and brought such criticism to the NEA that the agency’s then director had to resign and the agency never fully recovered from the negative media hype, and neither did our country’s artists. That was three decades ago. Contrary to George Will’s "facts" this is not an ongoing phenomenon. In fact, the debacle of the late 1980's and early 1990's "culture wars" caused the NEA to shift its policy and not award grants to individual artists. And it has been that way for the past thirty years. Poets, writers, musicians welcome. Visual artists and all your descendants not. The issue remains one of controversy. Interestingly, the visual artists who were the centers of those controversies from the so-called "culture wars" of the late 1980's were largely performance artists, and one could argue that their performances were really theater rather than visual art. One of my former graduate school professors from Parsons School of Design in New York, felt that to be the case. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/03/arts/endowment-ends-program-helping-individual-artists.html Nevertheless, an American painter or sculptor will be required to pay ad infinitum for a few artist’s acts from three decades ago, not only financially, but in the court of public opinion, media exposure, and in access to recognition. A thirty year old sculptor may now pay a penalty for things that performance artists did before she was even born. Is that fair? I wonder how Congress, who had pressured the NEA for restrictions on artists, would feel if they had their free health care revoked for several decades and perhaps permanently because Congressman Joe Wilson shouted "You Lie!" at President Barack Obama during the State of the Union address back in 2009? Doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, Republican or Independent, you’re a Congressman and a Congressman was rude several years ago so we’re taking away all your funding permanently. Permanently! And don’t expect tax payers to fund your travel, your election campaigns, your meals.

The second art work that George Will alludes to in his opinion piece is ostensibly the work of Robert Gober. Contrary to George Will’s "facts" again, Robert Gober was not funded by the NEA. The reason why his work (it does indeed include white traced drawings of genitalia on black wall boards), comes up in association with the NEA is that the artist sued the NEA for not funding his exhibition. This incident is also about three decades old. I wrote to George Will recently with a polite request for him to correct his mistake. I doubt anything will come of my request and most assuredly the false information will continue to spread like wildfire.

The next conservative call to abolish the NEA that I wish to have a closer look at comes from the Boston Globe. This one is interesting because the writer shares with his readers examples of artists and art organizations that "thrived" without government support. The writer is conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby and his illustrious examples of non-government supported artists are Aaron Copland, Phyllis Wheatley and myriad Shakespeare companies, the last of which he graciously supplies a link to.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2017/02/28/scrap-nea-and-america-arts-scene-will-thrive/FIUUzXoTbG6sOzwK0QdMQL/story.html

Following this link on the last one I see that these groups have been funded by the NEA. That would seem to undermine his premise a bit but we’ll move on. How about Aaron Copland? Aaron Copland was a strong supporter of government support for the arts and even chaired an early panel on the NEA. Copland’s own work was supported by the government of France through his study at the Fontainebleau Conservatory. Hardly an example of an artist without government support. And then we come to poor Phyllis Wheatley, an early colonial African American poet. She was not supported by the American colonists financially, except with room and board by the couple who purchased her. Funding for her first publication of poetry was found nevertheless through a British patron. Perhaps her money did not come from the American government - there wasn’t one at the time - but it did indeed have to come from somewhere. But was she "thriving" as Jacoby proposes? Her biographers tell us that she died in abject poverty, unable to sell her work, at age 31: "She was reduced to a condition too loathsome to describe. ... In a filthy apartment, in an obscure part of the metropolis ... . The woman who had stood honored and respected in the presence of the wise and good ... was numbering the last hours of life in a state of the most abject misery, surrounded by all the emblems of a squalid poverty!"


https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/phillis-wheatley

So much for thriving without support. But I must confess, that despite the fact that Jacoby would like to see artists thrown in to the sink or swim American economy alone without a government life jacket, I almost felt sorry for him with the attacks levied upon his column from fellow Bostonians of a more liberal bent of mind. Still, I could not help but wonder why they were calling him out for his conservatism but not for his facts, which would seem to be more immediately pertinent? I wrote to Jeff Jacoby recently to inquire as to why he did not come up with examples that would serve to bolster his opinion instead of negate it. Why not, for instance, include an artist like Jan Steen, who supported himself in seventeenth century Holland by running an inn?

In the upcoming months, there will probably be much more debate on whether or not the NEA should be "scrapped" to use Jacoby’s term, or seen as an expendable "frill" to quote George Will. I would hope that in this upcoming debate, discussions can be based upon facts rather than rhetoric, with the media being more responsible for fact checking and respondents more discerning about what stories they share. For a history of the National Endowment for the Arts, here is a link to an online book that provides an in depth look into what has actually been funded from 1965 to 2009. https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/nea-history-1965-2008.pdf It is a document well worth reading for anyone who wants to know better the history of government support for historic preservation ( the founding of the American Film Industry for the preservation of early black and white films is one fine example) early support of individual artists , bringing arts to under-served communities, museums and veterans. The Obama years have not been included in this text. Despite his education, Barack Obama does not seem to have been a truly ardent supporter of the arts and humanities. Any commentary on what was actually funded during his tenure on my part will require more reading.

I will continue to advocate for retaining a National Endowment for the Arts. I might just suggest that it actually be expanded and that grants to individual visual artists be restored again. Why beg when it is would seem appropriate to demand justice and equality?

*It is early yet but I have not received replies from my inquiries or requests to George Will or Jeff Jacoby. I’m certain they are deluged with emails and mine would not be considered of much importance. But I will post a response if I do get one. For now, I can at least answer George Will’s question, "What is art?" That part is simple: art is what an artist makes. If the artist is fortunate then someone pays for it.