Blog / Secretary of the Arts and A New Blog… at the White House?


By Teka

For those of us who like to journey through cyberspace in blog exploration, today we have a new destination to visit – the White House blog.

At around noon today, President Obama’s administration launched a new website, complete with a blog.  Given the recent calls for a ‘secretary of the arts,’ I can imagine that I (and many others in the art world) may find myself sneaking a peak at the new site from time to time. CNN describes the site thus:

Almost at the instant Obama was sworn in, relaunched with a redesign to signal a new era in government. Gone was the staid site of the Bush White House, replaced by a dynamic new site reflective of his tech-savvy successor.

The new design includes more interactive features, a prominent photo gallery displayed across the top of the site, the ability to get e-mail updates, and a White House blog. The site’s “briefing room” also includes places for a weekly video address, slide shows, proclamations, and executive orders as well as news about nominations and appointments.

No matter your political leanings, there is no doubt that today was a historic day, apparently in cyberspace as well as for the Nation as a whole.

But back to the campaign for a Secretary of the Arts. Already, Obama has proven to be a friend to the arts.  He was the only candidate in the recent run for the White House to have an arts platform, and recently has proposed the creation of an Artists Corps, an organization that would be much like the Peace Corps, in this case mobilizing artists and arts professionals to volunteer in schools and other civic organizations.

And today, I heard Quincy Jones (who is spearheading the call) mention that the US is the only country without such a position – most have a Minister of Culture or some other equivalent.  In my mind, supports for the arts should be at least equal to that given to the sciences – its been proven time and time again that study of the arts from a young age only aids in problem solving and creative thinking skills, and even helps in the study of science and math.  So, to me it seems a good idea, though I’m not sure if there needs to be a cabinet position – one has to wonder if the red tape that defines the confirmation process would be a hindrance.  We art folks can be a rowdy bunch, and I can just imagine how many potential candidates might come burdened with “a past” or simply might be unwilling to play politics.  And given the question of “taste,” I have to wonder how anyone could fill the position and satisfy the diverse and challenging needs of the art world.  In other words, I’m very much for it, even as I’m tremendously wary.  What do you think?

Not surprisingly, the mainstream media has been a little slow to pick up on the call for a Secretary of the Arts, but there is apparently a new Facebook Group promoting the idea, and I found two recent articles on the proposal via the Washington Post and the LA Times.

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