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March 8, 2012 - 7:45am

Today's Poll: Should art be subsidized by publicly funded grants?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Bob Harker
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Absolutely not. Why should my tax dollars be spent on things like displaying a statue of Jesus being soaked in urine?

Where in the Constitution does it say the government should be involved in this?

The NEA is a money guzzling waste. If people enjoy what passes for art these days, that's all fine and good. Let them pay for it.

Bea McManis
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Bob, are you referring to the PHOTOGRAPH that won an award partially funded by the NEA?
Just wondering.

Chris Charvella
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Frank, do you know what Piss Christ was all about, or are you just reflexively angry about the subject matter?

I'm actually glad you brought up that particular photograph. I'd say the meaning behind it is more relevant today than it was when it was produced.

Kyle Couchman
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I have to agree Chris....

I am troubled by the way certain churches are drifting away from Christ and the Bible in favor of political correctness and appeal to the public. Pretty sad.

Bea McManis
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The photograph is of a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of what appears to be a yellow liquid. The artist has described the substance as being his own urine The photograph was one of a series of photographs that Serrano had made that involved classical statuettes submerged in various fluids—milk, blood, and urine.
The photograph is a 60x40 inch Cibachrome print. It is glossy and its colors are deeply saturated. The presentation is that of a golden, rosy medium including a constellation of tiny bubbles. Without Serrano's explanation, the viewer would not necessarily be able to differentiate between the stated medium of urine and a medium of similar appearance, such as amber or polyurethane
Serrano has not ascribed overtly political content to Piss Christ and related artworks, on the contrary stressing their ambiguity. He has also said that while this work is not intended to denounce religion, it alludes to a perceived commercializing or cheapening of Christian icons in contemporary culture

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piss_Christ

Amazing how the meaning changes when told straight out. The photographer did NOT mean to desecrate a statue nor was it his intention to take a stab at Christianity.
Horrors of horrors, the far right was wrong again.
As far as grants are concerned...
have you ever listened to the Batavia Concert Band on a Wednesday night in the park? public funding
have your children ever watched Mr. Rogers or Sesame St. on television? public funding
Did you ever go to a community street festival? public funding
There is a long, long list of positive events that are funded by public grants.
Your focus on ONE photograph that doesn't reflect what YOU think it does is hardly an argument for eliminating public funding.

Rich Richmond
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Here is the Wikipedia Link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piss_Christ

I personally find this repugnant to the extreme. A small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of the artist’s urine and photographed.

Although controversial it is protected by the 1st. Amendment and I have to support the artist’s right to do it.

I use the term artist loosely and I hold him in contempt.

No taxpayer money should go to the National Endowment to the Arts.

If an artist feels strongly enough for his or her work, doing it for arts’ sake should be enough.

Short of that, there are enough wealthy progressive, liberal thinkers to support people like him.

Kyle Couchman
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Whatever happened to artists soliciting their own patrons. The passion that drives the artists should also drive them to solicit support for that art. I mean some of the people who defend and laud such art, I wonder if they actually would change that opinion if they were asked to open their wallet to support such. As for Bea's examples (at least some of them)I think she is transposing public funding with grant from the govt of public monies. Mr. Rodgers and Sesame St were publicly funded but by PBS's constant begging and requests for donations. People voluntarily subscribing is one thing but for the Govt to take funds that could be applied to improving roads or keeping more things from having to be cut from budgets seems to be a more important function.

In the current financial climate and budget emergencies programs like this are highly inappropriate. Its like a family taking money from a grocery budget to go to disney world just to uplift their spirits during rough times, it just makes no sense to me.

Bea McManis
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Kyle & Richard
Kyle:
PBS does receive public grant money from the government. That has been a burr in the GOP saddle for years.
But, then again, the GOP elite would like nothing better than to deprive the less fortunate (yes, even their own) access to the arts.
Richard:
When discussing that particular photograph, if you did not know the liquid, and only saw the photograph, would you be so repulsed. Photography is an art form. When you see an advertisement for ice cream are you repulsed because the "ice cream" is really mashed potatoes or that the beautifully browned Thanksgiving turkey gets it's roasted look from chocolate sauce or motor oil?

Here are a few of the grants offered by the NEA. Really sound scary to me!
Art Works
March 8 and August 9, 2012, Application Deadlines
To support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Within this category, all Arts Education projects will have Learning as their primary outcome. Innovative projects are strongly encouraged. Grants generally range from $10,000 to $100,000.
NOTE: Arts Education projects may be in any artistic discipline, but must be standards-based and align with either national or state arts education standards. Projects for short-term arts exposure, arts appreciation, or intergenerational activity should not be submitted under Arts Education; rather, they should be submitted under the appropriate artistic discipline. If you have questions about whether you should apply under Arts Education or some other discipline, read "Choosing the Right Discipline for Children and Youth Projects."

Our Town
CFDA No. 45.024
Organizations may apply for creative placemaking projects that contribute to the livability of communities and place the arts at their core. An organization may request a grant amount from $25,000 to $150,000. (Deadline: March 1, 2012)

National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards
Outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America's young people may apply for these awards. (Receipt deadline: January 31, 2012)

The Arts in Media
CFDA No. 45.024
In 2010, the National Endowment for the Arts evolved the category of “Arts on Radio and Television” to “Arts in Media.” This change reflects the variety of media through which artists are now creating and the public are consuming art. This initiative has been an overwhelming success yielding more than twice the number of applications received under the previous category. The proposals that will be recommended for support under Arts in Media ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to experience great art whether on television, radio, the Internet, or on their mobile phones. We are now moving the specifications for Arts in Media under our umbrella of “Art Works” with the deadline of August 9, 2012.

John Roach
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If you do not believe in government subsidies for things like the GCEDC, oil companies, "green" energy or tax abatements for business, then you should be against this also. It's all the same, just given to different groups. Everyone has their favorites, but you can't have it both ways.

At a time trillion dollar deficits and when they are talking of cutting medicare,defense, education, highway funds and the like, we can do without the NEA.

Rich Richmond
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Bea:

Here is the short answer.

I did and do know that a crucifix was placed in the artist’s urine and then photographed

As a Roman Catholic I find the act sacrilegious. I don’t care what the so called artist’s political views are or what he was trying to convey. Nevertheless, I support his first Amendment Right to create what he considers art; I don’t want to pay for it through my tax dollars.

I can choose to view an advertisement or not. If I don’t want the product or disagree with the advertiser’s political views, my option is to boycott the product.

There are wants and then there are needs. All the things you mentioned are all fine things. However if there is a real need, fine people like you can find a way to have them funded them without taxpayer dollars.

C. M. Barons
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There are hundreds of thousands of artists, writers, performers and musicians in this country, yet whenever mention is made of public support for the arts- only one, Robert Mapplethorpe; never-mind his portfolio, a sole image. ...Not that anyone's seen it! Whatever public money was expended on that photograph, those opposed to art-funding got their money's worth. They bought the meme for vacuity.

Rex Lampke
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PBS is partly funded by the Goverment in part of the $430,000,000 That the Corporation for Public Broadcasting gets. My grandson was born 49,419 in debt ! this has to stop!

Bea McManis
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Richard,
The question is still out there. If you were not told what liquid was in the container, would you still be repulsed? I think not.
I, too, am a Roman Catholic. However, I am also aware of artistic license. If that photo shoot was meant to disparage my faith, I'd be the first person to jump up and down and protest.
Regarding the 'advertisement', it wasn't an indictment on the product, it was how you view the actual photo shoot. They tell you they are selling ice cream, you see the picture and even though it is mashed potatoes, you still see ice cream. Had the photographer said that it was amber in that container, regardless of what the liquid actually was, you would think amber and we wouldn't be having this discussion..
How did we get from looking at an advertisement to boycotting the product?
There is more than black and white (no pun intended) when discussing how tax dollars should be spent.
I'm disappointed in you, as a Roman Catholic. We are taught the Beatitudes. When did you forget them?

Kyle Couchman
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Gee Bea when did you forget the Beatitudes....I didnt and dont think Richard did either, lets take a look shall we?

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.

Blesses are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.

Looking to Richards comments, and comparing them to the Beatitudes, I dont see where his actions really go against anything in them. I am Anglican and we are taught the same Bible.

As far as knowledge as to the contents of the vessel the crucifix was submersed in. Richard is completely justified in his assumption of it being urine, as that was the artists intent. So the what if the artist said it was amber is moot. The artist intended it to look like urine and in fact claims it was. For all we know it still could be polyurathane. So we are back to square one, which people seem to think is common sense it not an appropriate use of taxpayer money to fund the arts..

Rich Richmond
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Bea,

If a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump it’s buttocks every time it jumped!

If you like I'll draw you a picture of a frog with wings free of charge.

Your suppositions will not change my opinion and expect no further response on the subject.

I stated my position. No taxpayer money to fund the arts.

Jeff Allen
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Here is where I may lose some of my conservative creds, but I believe the founding fathers supported the concept of government financial aid to the arts. In 1776, John Adams said this "Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of people, it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates... to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them." Our founding fathers were great fans and promoters of the fine arts and I don't see them being opposed to the use of tax dollars in promoting the welfare of the whole person through education and often science and the arts went hand in hand. That being said, they would probably cringe at the way it is being done today.

Bea McManis
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Jeff, thank you.
Piss Christ is always used to be the definitive answer as to why the arts should not be funded by the government.
The government didn't commission that photograph, all they did was partially fund the competition. They were not the judges.
Yes, education and bringing the arts to our citizens was not lost on our founding fathers.
What is the end result when the opportunity to encourage creativity and promote lifetime learning is hampered? I shudder to think.

Bea McManis
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Richard wrote:
"Your suppositions will not change my opinion and expect no further response on the subject."

For the record. No one attempted to change your opinion. However, I believe the only person who can silence another poster would be Howard. Interesting way to end a discussion, just tell the other person that they can no longer respond.

terry paine
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Back to the poll question.
Its impossible to value anything when coercion is use to fund it.

Kyle Couchman
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Bea theres a difference between your assertion that he is prevented from responding..... vs his intent, which is he will no longer engage you in this discussion.

John Roach
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Bea,
The founders encouraged education, but did not fund it, they left it to that to the states. They encouraged art and music, but did not fund artists and art shows.

Nathan Oaksford
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As someone who is very into photography, I know first had that it is an expensive field to get into, As is painting. However I don't ask people for help to pay for it. If you want to get noticed it should be on your dime not the tax payers. Museums might be a different story as they serve a different purpose.

As for Piss Christ, shock value is always something that draws attention. Artists are always trying to pull the next big WTF to get their name out there. I hope he spilled the glass on his carpet.

Lorie Longhany
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What needs to be added to this conversation is the economic impact that art has on a local community. Dollars generated from local art projects stay in the community, enhance the community, and expand to other local businesses including restaurants, printers and other local businesses. Art also leaves an historic footprint invaluable to humanity.

I also want to give my own personal props to GOART -- our local arts council. They work tirelessly to support those of us that try to eek out a livelihood in the arts.

Bob Harker
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Jeff, you've still got my vote for president, but you'll see my campaign contributions fall off till you redeem yourself!

:)

Bob Harker
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Lorie, the key word here is "livelihood".

Are you involved in the arts for a career choice? If so, I don't think you have a right to ask the public to fund your efforts.

On the other hand, if you are in it because you love the freedom of artistic expression, why would you need tax dollars to underwrite that.?

We all have things we like to do or have a passion for. Does that mean your tax dollars should buy my horse feed?

I don't mean to be flippant, but I honestly don't see a difference. Maybe I believe that if people had a greater appreciation of raising horses, the world would be a better place. Would I then be "entitled" to government funding?

C. M. Barons
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Anyone who might assume that supporting the arts with public funding is a frivolous use of public money needs to consider that the presence of art (in all its multitude of forms) is beneficial to the (economic) well-being of a community.

For the Genesee region this benefit is exemplified by GOArt sponsored activities such as Concerts in the Park, summer concert series in communities like Bergen, Byron and LeRoy, the Mall concerts, Picnic in the Park; Nioga-sponsored author visits, also there are plays and musicals presented by Batavia Players and GCC/Forum Players and each of the local schools- student theatrical, instrumental and choral performances- all of which are public-funded and open to everyone. The list of artistic exhibits and performances in the county is vast and confirms the value of the arts, drawing both visitors and residents to spend money locally and sanction community opportunities for art. I should also note the Genesee Wyoming Music Educators concert series and festivals, Genesee Valley Council on the Arts and NYS Art Teachers Association, the Ramble Music and Arts Festival, Summer in the City, Bergen Park Festival, Oatka Fest, Byron Heritage Days, Student Art Exhibits, Local Artist Exhibits, artist-in-residence, painting classes, Batavia Concert Band, Genesee Symphony, Genesee Chorale...

Without public funding for the arts, our county would be an incredibly sterile place to live. Those who desire vital communities that attract and anchor residents and new businesses would be negligent to ignore the significance of cultural arts.

Support your Local Musicians (and dancers, painters, sculptors, photographers, authors, poets, story-tellers, et al) keep our Libraries, arts councils, galleries, theaters, local History museums and school-art-drama-music programs well-funded! Everyone benefits.

I apologize to the groups I have overlooked, but those mentioned are indelible and come to mind immediately...

Jeff Allen
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Thanks for the support Bob. If I were President here is how I would see to it federal arts money was apportioned. 25% at the federal level to maintain the archives, antiquities and history of our country period (Smithsonian, national monuments, national archives, etc.), 25% at the state level (every state has a rich history and diverse culture that must be maintained and promoted), and finally 50% would go to the local level (counties) because that is where art is born and thrives. Control of art funding is more effective at the local level since what is appealing to Genesee County may mean nothing to folks in Westchester county. What sells like hot cakes in New York city may be a total flop in Boise Idaho. However under this plan more local artisans get a shot and art that has broad appeal will naturally thrive on it's own merit. Rarely does an artist just burst on to the national scene, they cut there teeth at the local level. This would give more an opportunity to do so and then let the market for art decide how far they go.

John Roach
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Everyone wants a piece of the tax pie. Businesses want subsidies, the poor want subsidies, college students want subsidies, everyone wants tax money for their project or cause. And they all think that without you giving them your tax money, the world will end. We do not have the money.

Not long ago, Bea wrote that some lady where she lives could barley afford food. Now if true, then should the money for GOART go to help her eat? What's more needed, money for an artist, or a sidewalk being fixed?

Cut the budget, but not my piece of the pie?

C. M. Barons
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The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will likely top $4 trillion dollars and you're taking aim at the Public Broadcasting budget... Why? ...Because Frontline challenges Rush Limbaugh's miasma of racism and misogyny? Speaking of which- did anyone note the hypocrisy: Rush's "slut" smear despite his-own 2006 bust for possession of Viagra (not his name on the prescription) upon return from a notorious 'pedophile beach' in the Dominican Republic.

Charlie Mallow
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John its the same old story. If its your piece of the pie, it's not waste. If the art is something you like, it's not waste.

The American people will never allow the cuts nessasarry to balance our budget. It's pure fantacy to believe our budget problems will be solved through cuts alone. You can't even do it on a local level in a very conservative area.

Peter O'Brien
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Want a reason besides Piss Christ, drive to Rochester at the intersection of Lake Av. and West Ridge Road. That thing is horrible.

If the art is good it will sell itself. Even if it is a joke it can sell itself. If its not good, then its not art and will not sell. The government shouldn't be subsidizing people who create garbage.

C. M. Barons
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Charlie, aren't you concerned with getting slivers from that fence you're straddling?

Peter O'Brien
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The Renaissance had no public funding of art.....

John Roach
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Charlie has it right, if it's your cause, or you're getting some of the money, its important and can never, ever get cut. If its not your cause, or you are not getting a cut, then its not worth any money.

C. M. Barons
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All I can say, Peter; in Rochester salvage-thieves walked off with the ornamental fence surrounding a county office building. The art you object to is too big to cart away! As for Renaissance art, it was all commissioned by patrons who lived on the labors and taxes from peasants, so...

John Roach
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CM,
So confiscated money form peasants/serfs/slaves, hundreds of years ago to buy art is justification to spend tax money now on the same thing?

C. M. Barons
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John, you're right! Without the Medici, Borgias and Vatican, Florence, Venice and Milan couldn't hold a candle to the Booger Hollow double-decker outhouse in Dover, Arkansas. I concede.

Charlie Mallow
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CM, haven't you been paying attention? I'm a leftist but, I really don't care about art. I'm just interested in my mother keeping her healthcare and prescription plan. As long as no one brings up what I want from government, I'm a conservative.

Howard B. Owens
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There's never been a time when art wasn't publicly financed in one form or another, including Renaissance.

Artists have always relied on benefactors to live, because as a rule, in the artist's lifetime, their art has little economic value.

Where it does have economic value - such as pop music -- public financing is not necessary.

That leaves a whole swath of art that would never get made without patrons.

In our high-tax, assume the government is obligated to take care of us, including mother's healthcare, country we now live in, the idea of private patronage has all but disappeared.

Until the country returns to principals based on individual freedom and responsibility, the idea of patronage of the arts is a non-starter.

Art is terribly important to a civilized, educated, society. Ensuring that new art gets made is a societal obligation for the sake of ensuring all of our lives are bettered.

In a world where government is obligated to take care of mother's healthcare, it's also obligated to take care of the local artist. You can't have one without the other, because they're symptoms of the same disease.

And in a world where are is subject to approval by committee, as in the government grant world, there is going to be some junk that gets through (of course, knowing what's junk today doesn't tell us what will be junk tomorrow in the art world).

If you don't want government subsidized art, then change the nature of government. I.e., get government off my back so I have more money to spend on art, or whatever else I see fit use of the compensation I earned for my labor.

John Roach
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CM, You are the one who brought up peasants to make a point. Buck up.

Daniel Crofts
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I'm with Howard on this one. Patronage has been a boon for many of the greatest artists and poets throughout the centuries. The problem now, it seems to me, is that most do not have the money to exercise patronage of artists, and those who do tend to be inaccessible. Government interference probably does have something to do with this, especially in terms of excessive taxation and expansion. But I will get off my soapbox now :)

C. M. Barons
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Chico: “So why a duck?”

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