Home   -   Credentials   -   Reading Room  

L y n n  C a r l s o n . u s
Art Consultant
   Consultora en las materias del arte visual


You are no doubt aware of the petition online at www.petitiononline.com, asking President Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts.  Many artists and supporters of the arts are speaking out in favor of the establishment of this new position and believe its grassroots nature will catch the president’s eye.  That President Obama has inspired thousands to believe they can bring about this change has this writer’s attention.

My inbox holds messages, saying “We in the arts need this.” and “(It) is a truly great idea!”  While some posts to the petition site say ‘now is not the time for such an addition to the federal budget’ and ‘do you really think that a politician is going to endow art?’

The President’s cabinet includes the Vice President, the Attorney General and the heads of departments that guide the president and therefore the country in guarding and nurturing our resources.  Is the petition driven by the perception that the executive departments are occupied by under-appreciators of the arts?  Even the new Obama administration?  Can we give the President and his cabinet the benefit of the doubt on this and offer room for compromise?  Is everyone aware of the fact that the Secretary for Science works under the Department of Energy?  Perhaps an under secretary for the arts below the Secretary of Education is under consideration.  The Secretary of Education will, after all, oversee a $5 billion grant program designed to “encourage innovation”.  

The Secretary of the Arts petition is curiously succinct.  Do you worry it will be disrespected because of its lack of detail?  Isn’t a call for additional art a cry for more and diverse information, curiosity, thoughtfulness, creativity, observation, history, order, inclusion, sensitivity and high level problem solving? Could these attributes, vital to our future, be lost as the call for the position is discussed? Won’t we see a senator on the nightly news diminishing the value of the arts as he or she blasts the new position as an earmark that won’t benefit the common good? 

The petition hasn’t caught the attention of the pundits so we don’t know who is in the position of being considered for the Secretary of Arts.  The art community is correct, if the petition grows legs, to dread the night the secretary appointee, he or she of art, finance and political experience, is caricatured in television satire.

President Obama ran, and won office promising positive change.  As the still young United States of America has never had a cabinet level office of art and or culture, such a position would be a change, but the administration, one month old at this writing, is announcing changes weekly.  It is unlikely a Secretary of the Arts is on the agenda, but perhaps an (under) secretary for one of the cabinet positions is and your signature to the petition will mean change for the common good. 

Lynn Carlson                                                                                                    lynncarlson.us  

Crystal Lake                                                                                                     19 Feb 2009


Lynn Carlson, M.A., M.S.

   Home   -   Credentials   -   Reading Room