In Wednesday’s (3/25) New York Times, Robin Pogrebin writes, “Washington continues to be consumed by economic turmoil, but cultural professionals say they are cautiously optimistic about the future of the arts under President Obama. Among the positive signs: The $50 million in stimulus money going to the National Endowment for the Arts, the additional $10 million for the Endowment in the recent omnibus spending bill and the decision to give a White House official responsibility for arts and culture, though this has yet to be announced. There is still considerable distance to go, arts advocates say. More than two months into his presidency, Mr. Obama has yet to name a new chairman of the Endowment. This leaves the country’s most important arts agency without a permanent chief, as arts groups around the country scramble to submit their applications for stimulus funds by the April 2 deadline. … Just what shape the Endowment will take under the Obama administration will depend largely upon whom the president appoints as the agency’s chairman. … Michael C. Dorf, a lawyer who served on Mr. Obama’s arts policy team during the campaign and was an adviser during the transition, emerged as an early favorite, and a few other names have been floated. But there have been no concrete developments, even as cultural organizations are cutting back drastically or closing their doors because of the economic downturn.”
Posted March 25, 2009