EDDIE WOLOWSKI, SJSU grad and international artist who roams from the West Coast to New York, to Poland, Western Europe and back has done some very important research on the current presidential candidates. I’ll bet none of you knew this! He writes:

Hi All, I know some people have made up your minds on who’s who for the final race… But a month ago I was looking at the U.S primaries and thought, yes, the War is a very important issue with thousands on all sides dying. Yes, the fact so many Americans are without health insurance is embarrassing and a human right, yes the economy is bad, and the middle class is disappearing, homelessness is higher than ever, etc… but just out of curiosity what are the Democratic candidates’ positions on the arts and culture? A creative culture is a competitive culture which means it is a economically strong culture. I thought about JFK’s past speech talking about Robert Frost… I went on to think hey, a culture that is supportive of its artists is a healthy society, not just based on consumption, but on re-investing in its society. Being in the EU I see this all the time at first hand.

So I wrote the Democratic candidates, no one responded. So I sent it again…then… this email arrived today. So, I am sending it along below. Often we think about just one issue, however a society is multifaceted, everything is intertwined. Here’s some info for the curious. Admittedly no candidate is perfect. But hey, here’s something regarding our fields.

Please pass it onto anyone that’s in the creative areas of production. Well, have to go paint… Friendly Greetings, Michael

_____ here’s the message.

Dear Friend,

Thank you for contacting us in support of the arts. Senator Obama is a champion for arts and culture. He knows that our nation’s creativity has filled the world’s libraries, museums, recital halls, movie houses, and marketplaces with works of genius. The arts embody the American spirit of self-definition. As the author of two best-selling books РDreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope РBarack Obama uniquely appreciates the role and value of creative expression.

That’s why he will reinvest in Arts Education. To remain competitive in the global economy, America needs to reinvigorate the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country great. To do so, we must nourish our children‚Äôs creative skills. In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education. Unfortunately, many school districts are cutting instructional time for art and music education.

Barack believes that the arts should be a central part of effective teaching and learning. The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts recently said, “The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.” To support greater arts education, Obama will:

Expand Public/Private Partnerships Between Schools and Arts Organizations: Barack Obama will increase resources for the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants, which develop public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations. Obama will also engage the foundation and corporate community to increase support for public/private partnerships.

Create an Artist Corps: Barack Obama supports the creation of an “Artists Corps” of young artists trained to work in low-income schools and their communities. Studies in Chicago have demonstrated that test scores improved faster for students enrolled in low-income schools that link arts across the curriculum than scores for students in schools lacking such programs.

Publicly Champion the Importance of Arts Education: As president, Barack Obama will use the bully pulpit and the example he will set in the White House to promote the importance of arts and arts education in America. Not only is arts education indispensable for success in a rapidly changing, high skill, information economy, but studies show that arts education raises test scores in other subject areas as well.

Support Increased Funding for the NEA: Over the last 15 years, government funding for the National Endowment for the Arts has been slashed from $175 million annually in 1992 to $125 million today. Barack Obama supports increased funding for the NEA, the support of which enriches schools and neighborhoods all
across the nation and helps to promote the economic development of countless communities.

Promote Cultural Diplomacy: American artists, performers and thinkers representing our values and ideals can inspire people both at home and all over the world. Through efforts like that of the United States Information Agency, America’s cultural leaders were deployed around the world during the Cold War as artistic
ambassadors and helped win the war of ideas by demonstrating to the world the promise of America. Artists can be utilized again to help us win the war of ideas against Islamic extremism. Unfortunately, our resources for cultural diplomacy are at their lowest level in a decade. Barack Obama will work to reverse this trend and improve and expand public-private partnerships to expand cultural and arts exchanges throughout the world.

Attract Foreign Talent: The flipside to promoting American arts and culture abroad is welcoming members of the foreign arts community to America. Opening America’s doors to students and professional artists provides the kind of two-way cultural understanding that can break down the barriers that feed hatred and fear. As America tightened visa restrictions after 9/11, the world’s most talented students and artists, who used to come here, went elsewhere. Barack Obama will streamline the visa process to return America to its rightful place as the world’s top destination for artists and art students.

Provide Health Care to Artists: Finding affordable health coverage has often been one of the most vexing obstacles for artists and those in the creative community. Since many artists work independently or have nontraditional employment relationships, employer-based coverage is unavailable and individual policies are financially out of reach. Barack Obama’s plan will provide all Americans with quality, affordable health care.
His plan includes the creation of a new public program that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health care similar to that available to federal employees. His plan also creates a National Health Insurance Exchange to reform the private insurance market and allow Americans to enroll in participating private plans, which would have to provide comprehensive benefits, issue every applicant a policy, and charge fair and stable premiums. For those who still cannot afford coverage, the government will provide a subsidy. His health plan will lower costs for the typical American family by up to $2,500 per year.

Ensure Tax Fairness for Artists: Barack Obama supports the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The Act amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow artists to deduct the fair market value of their work, rather than just the costs of the materials, when they make charitable contributions.

Thank you again for contacting us. We appreciate hearing from you.
HARRY POWERS, sculptor and Professor Emeritus of San Jose State University, is showing four of his recent sculptures on East Napa Street in fron to f the Sonoma Community Center in Napa County. The sculptures, three in bronze and one in aluminum, are from eleven to sixteen feet tall. They were all cast at the San Jose State University metals foundry on South Fifth Street, and constructed in San Jose. The outdoor exhibition will be on view until mid-May.

The MARTHA GARDENS ART DISTRICT was designated as an arts district/neighborhood by the city of San Jose in acknowledgement of artists living and working in studios in and around the American Can Company and the Citadel Cannery, as well as the SJSU Foundry. Since that time, the Art Ark with its Common House Gallery has joined the scene. With the Art Ark and Bestor Park as a central focus, Spartan Keyes is planning a fall arts festival in the neighborhood that will include open studios, booths and activities for residents and children, and perhaps such features as art cars and a parade, under the theme of “Art Cars and Art Stars”. AURELIA SANCHEZ, ERIN GOODWIN-GUERRERO and VALERIE RAPS are members of the committee who are currently recruiting interested local artists and volunteers to help develop the theme and events at the festival.

ANNE SCONBERG and MARK HENDERSON are throwing one of their fabulous art parties on Satuday, March 1st. If you have not yet responded to your invitation, better get that rsvp in right away. If you did not get your invitation, talk to SARA COLE at BACKWATER ARTS or MATT ISBLE or any of the other artists who are showing. They can get you into the inner circle.

International gallerist WALTER BISCHOFF was in San Jose at his Aborn Road Retreat in January, on the way to the LA Art Fair where he will show the work of San Jose artist KATHERINE LEVIN-LAU. The works of MYUNG KWUN who was in residence at the Aborn Road Artists’ Retreat in 2007, and of THOMAS HENNINGER who will be in residence at the Retreat in 2008 are going to the LA show, as well. Henninger’s work will be seen in exhibition at San Jose State University following his residency. Also to be seen in Bischoff’s LA Art Fair exhibition, are works by such international luminaries as Joseph Beuys, A.R. Penk, Henry Moore, Hans Rentschler, Gerhard Richter, and Jesus Soto.

Comments are closed.