Letter to Madam Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

This letter went to Washington (and the reply is posted here at Restore the Arts separately)


July 20, 2017

Dear Madam Secretary DeVos :


This letter is written to you at the same time as similar letters from us have gone to the new French Minister of Education and the new French Minster of Culture, regarding a project involving a new association of American, French, and Belgian artists in all disciplines of the fine arts.

I am the founder of our new « think tank » as we call it, named « Restore the Arts » and we have a blogsite called TransArts.live, underlining the overseas nature of our collaboration. Our purpose is to add true value and meaning to the fine arts of today, and we have a manifesto written in French and English, posted at our blog, which outlines a set of important principles as well as our concerns about today’s world of the arts. We plan to have conferences, concerts, and poetry readings.

We are writing to seek help in establishing a center in Normandy, France, to be within two hours of Paris. We would like to establish a center later in the United States, possibly in Washington, DC.

Our work is likely to have an impact on higher education and eventually should result in the establishment of a special school. Part of our mission will be to revive neglected subjects that could have value for the current world of fine arts and literature. It is surprising how many former insights in the arts have sunk into the background. For example, collaborative wisdom has been lost – as in how to create good libretti for operas, musicals, ballet, and dance. Knowledge about how music (without lyrics) communicates meaning has faded into near oblivion.

A list of our concerns is found at our Blogsite, but one of great importance I will mention here is our concern with the debate between classicism, neoclassicism, and failed modernism. It is of great importance (to me personally) that French classicism is the most articulated and advanced in the world, and resulted in the French National Academy – which England wanted to emulate, and which could teach a great deal to America in its debate on any program such as the NEA.

I was invited twice by the Bush White House to be a candidate for Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts at the time when Dana Gioia ultimately was chosen. If the current administration decides to retain the NEA, my name will come up again for candidacy.

I took the initiative of bringing together a group of artists and arts theorists who have agreed to participate in TransArts, governed by a set of principles and responding to a number of artistic, musical, and literary concerns.

Our European founding members include two French poets, two French composers, a Belgian music publisher and an Italian musicologist. Among the Americans, we have a publisher, three composers, a music theorist, a mathematician, a musicologist, and two writers. These artists are, in my opinion, extremely talented and of the highest artistic education. One of our poets, for example, has seen more than twenty of his chapbooks published by Gallimard in Paris. (His poetry is ground breaking in technique, on the highest level of achievement, and has a Christian metaphysical nature. In other words, it is very important work, but would not receive the same degree of recognition in the US from private publishers.)

We are looking for a headquarters in France, two hours from Paris, and we need help to establish ourselves there. We have at our disposal 100,000 euros. We would be very grateful if you could help us find further underwriting to acquire real estate, where we could organize our conferences, concerts, and other events. Could you guide us to any private person or institution who would be able to help us?

I would be delighted to provide you with more information about “TransArts”, its distinguished artist members, and its proposed projects.

Yours truly, Webster Young

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