Case for Government Funding of the Arts - From Renowned Chicago Theater Critic Jonathan Abarbanel

Aug 31, 2011

Renowned Chicago theater critic Jonathan Abarbanel has written a two-part argument in support of government funding for the arts that has been published on WBEZ 91.5 Chicago Public Media's website. Abarbanel's direct experience as a panelist for the NEA lend insight and interest to his perspectives.

Part I - August 16, 2011
Part II - August 23, 2011

Abarbanel's rationale features some core arguments -- that societies are remembered for the culture they create -- and some less-often expressed viewpoints:

"It seems that some members of Congress fear the marketplace of ideas, artistic expression and creative innovation precisely because they can't control them. At worst that's a form of fascistic thinking, and reason enough in my mind to support the NEA. At very best, it's using personal values to assess the arts, by which some members of Congress confuse personal morality with public policy."
Abarbanel also addresses that aside from the money, which he acknowledges is extremely modest, that NEA grants act as an imprimatur and a lever for additional funding and support and that right now the NEA is the best seat the arts have at the political table.

Tags: Jonathan Abarbanel, Government support of the arts, public funding for the arts

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