In Wednesday’s (7/8) website, Nia-Malika Henderson writes, “In Barack Obama, the arts community believed it had found a kindred spirit—literary and urbane, a president who would restore culture to its proper national place after what many perceived as an eight-year exile under his predecessor. Yet, for some in the art world, watching the Obama administration’s approach to the arts so far has been an exercise in keeping expectations in check and a game of wait and see. … During the campaign, Obama billed himself as a ‘champion for arts and culture,’ and now, a White House spokesman says that he is committed ‘to ensuring that the arts community has an open line to the White House.’ But some have questions about who will be on the other end of that line. … Now, arts watchers are following Obama’s personnel and budgeting moves for clues as to how seriously he plans to showcase and support the arts on the policy front—and some say the early moves suggest that he won’t be taking any big, bold steps. The Obama culture team will fully be in place once Obama’s picks to head the National Endowment for the Arts (Broadway producer Rocco Landesman) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (former Iowa Republican Rep. Jim Leach) are confirmed by the Senate, virtually a done deal.”

Posted July 8, 2009