New Deal Support for the Arts

From I got a link to a government archives page of New Deal supported artwork. I found the artwork they display pretty cool, and the plan itself very interesting in light of Dad’s pragmatist argument against National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts funding and other such government incentives for art. Granted, the existence of New Deal support for the arts (under a democratic-party president) does not justify it, but it does speak to the need for art, even during extremely trying times. So check out the artwork, and argue the concept here in the comments. Me, I’m sure glad for grants. They’ve helped me a lot.

PatrickRecommendations05/01/03 2 comments


Dad • 05/05/03 6:34 PM:

How about a national endowment for retired engineers?

I too am glad you have taken advantage of these programs and benefitted. It would be foolish not to get all you can as long as it’s available. My question is why take public tax dollars and put it towards art, as opposed to other endeavors? The public contributes to the arts voluntarily, and so do many public corporations. Art institutions should live on contributions rather than tax money. My point is that art will happen whether or not we subsidize it with public funds.

Patrick • 05/08/03 9:53 AM:

Yes, but so would scientific inquiry and industry. Even more so, because those pursuits tend to be rewarded more readily within the capitalist system we’ve got set up here. But what about something like space exploration? After the billions, heck, maybe trillions of dollars that have been spent on it, what has it yielded more than a sense of national pride? How is space exploration more profitable than art? And wouldn’t “the people” police themselves without a government-paid police force? We could just set up vigilante groups and mete out our own justice. It does happen in areas where the police are scarce, or in the Old West. And don’t private individuals and religious organizations donate money and work to alleviate poverty? But it’s not enough. And I know you’d say that because it’s mandatory (welfare from taxes) people believe they’ve already contributed enough and don’t need to help any more. Maybe so. But these cause-effect wheels can be dizzying. I’m still in support of government funding for art. The effects of good art are nebulous and maybe nonexistent for some people, but art does bring dignity and pride and joy to a populace, and so I am happy to support it mandatorily with my (scant, nowadays nonexistent) tax dollars.

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