Arts Stimulus Plan Petition

A petition calling on the new Obama administration to create a stimulus package for the arts was launched on January 20, 2009, by the Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) Washington D.C. think tank in alliance with the Split this Rock Poetry Festival.

The editor of the D.C. think tank, John Feffer, along with Split this Rock member, Melissa Tuckey, expressed the ideas behind the initiative in a collaborative article they wrote titled, From Arms to Art, which appears on the FPIF website. The commentary opens with the following statement: “The United States is the largest exporter of arms in the world. Imagine what would happen if we became the largest exporter of the arts instead.” The call by Feffer and Tuckey goes on to state that the “Congress is debating an $800 billion stimulus package that many have compared to FDR’s Works Progress Administration (WPA)”, and that the FPIF/Split this Rock appeal is “asking that 1% of the stimulus package be used in support of the arts.” In part the article reads:

“To stimulate the economy, we need to rely on some of the most stimulating minds in our country: the artists. With their vision, they can help us envision a different future. But in this global economy, we can’t do it alone. We must think and act across borders. By devoting 1% of the stimulus package to the arts — and incorporating a strong global dimension to the funding — we can revive the U.S. economy and the U.S. global reputation. Ham-fisted propaganda and slick advertising aren’t going to do the trick. We need authentic voices, provocative works that reflect the true diversity of this country, and powerful visions that can build bridges and tear down walls. Join our campaign by signing our petition. Let’s not just stimulate the economy. Let’s stimulate our imagination.”

I critically support the “One Percent for the Arts Campaign” petition drive as launched by Foreign Policy In Focus and Split this Rock Poetry Festival. I have already signed my name to the document and I encourage all arts professionals and their supporters to do the same. The petition is located at:

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