The topic ‘Obama and the Arts’ can be seen from two different perspectives: (1) Barack Obama has been inspirational to artists worldwide. (2) Will Barack Obama’s 2009 Economic Stimulus Package address unemployment among artists in analogy to the Federal Art Project, part of the Work Project Administration (WPA) created by Roosevelt? For comments please see http://artandperception.com/...
(A) Quoting Rob Walker, New York Times:
Whether or not Barack Obama would make a good president, it’s clear that he makes an excellent muse. It’s hard to think of a political candidate in recent memory who has, in real time, inspired so much creativity, exercised free of charge and for the campaign’s benefit. Perhaps this suggests something about Obama — or maybe it suggests something about his supporters.
Shepard Fairey created this limited edition print of Barack Obama in an effort to fund a larger street poster campaign, January 2008. Fairey is one of today’s best known and most influential street artists. He sits on the advisory board of Reaching to Embrace the Arts, a not-for-profit organization that provides art supplies to disadvantaged schools and students.
A painting "Michelle and Sasha Obama Listening to Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, August 2008" by Elizabeth Peyton, another contemporary artist, was exhibited in the The New Museum in New York City’s Lower East Side neighborhood.
Another manifestation of the enthusiasm for Obama within the art community was an auction that brought together the work of more than 100 contemporary artists enabling artObama raised over $46,000 for Obama’s presidential campaign.
(B) Will the 2009 Economic Stimulus Package provide employment for artists?
With an economic stimulus package, Barack Obama has proposed to "put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels," by adding 2.5 million jobs.
An analogy is provided by the Works Project Administration (WPA) that was created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to deal with the Great Depression. More than 8,500,000 Americans were hired to build roads, public buildings and parks and do other infrastructure work around the country. Unemployed artists were hired through the Federal Art Project, part of the WPA.
The lasting legacy of art, funded by the Federal Art Project, can still be seen and enjoyed throughout USA.