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Should the US government INCREASE SPENDING on the arts?

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John Eyster
May 24, 2013

Should the US government INCREASE SPENDING on the arts?

Reflecting on her Discovering Democracy IV research, BONNIE WILSON asks, “Why is it that in America, if you are very good at math, you are said to have a great future ahead of you, but if you are equally talented at art, no great future is predicted? What is YOUR response?

Here is another OPINION STATEMENT written by one of the 42 Milton High School students who participated on the 4th annual Discovering Democracy Field Study. Bonnie articulates her support for the Arts. After reading her opinion statement, I hope YOU will comment. Perhaps you will come to the DD IV RESEARCH FAIR next Thursday, 5/30 from 7 - 9 pm in the Library at Milton High School to dialog with Bonnie and/or her colleagues about the significant public policy issues they researched. Join in the dialogue!

Here is the rest of Bonnie's OPINION STATEMENT:

“Making a ‘living’ as an artist in America is commonly viewed as unachievable and often times it is. Throughout my research and taking part in the Discovering Democracy field study in D.C., I took a close look at government support of the Arts in America. I discovered that America is different than other countries when comparing the budgets of various Arts Agencies around the world; it is shocking how far behind America is. While many European nations’ arts’ budgets amount to around $10 per capita. America’s budget is a mere $0.47 per capita. There are many benefits of government support of the arts in America. I believe we need to stop pushing the arts to the very bottom of our agenda. What do you think?

“The Arts are not totally unrelated to the subjects of math and science. Randy Cohen has reported in his “ArtsBlog” that students with 4 years of art or music in high school average 100 points better on their SAT scores than the students with less than 1 half year.

You can use this link to read Cohen’s post, “The Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2013.”

“Through the arts, students are able to create and learn the discipline required to succeed in the real world. America is occupied by 2 million artists who contribute to the economy and should not be overlooked. The Arts promote tourism, and make communities livable.

“As a nation, when one asks, ‘What is important?’ we tend to think about our problems right then and there. Some would say, ‘managing affairs in the Middle East’ is important, some would say ‘managing immigration’ is important, and still more would remark about the budget. What if we peel away the layers of supposed importance, peel away deficit and war, money and employment, aren’t the arts at the center humanity and human enjoyment?

When we lose sight of this we tend to put the Arts down as of low importance. I am convinced that the more we support the Arts, the more enriched our lives will become, and we will leave a legacy bigger and more important than budget management will. I enthusiastically agree with John F. Kennedy’s assertion, ‘I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for the victories of defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.’ What do YOU think?”

If you want to dialog with Bonnie about investment in the arts through our federal budget, you are invited to come to the Discovering Democracy IV’s Research Fair next Thursday, May 30 in the Milton High School Library from 7 – 9 pm. Bonnie and her DD IV colleagues will be there to share with YOU their stances on the significant public policy issues they studied this year and dialog with you as to your stance. Civil dialog is key to a healthy democracy. Share this kind of dialog with the DD IV students. Everyone is welcome! SEE YOU THERE?

Here we go…

Mr. E.



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