Should the National Endowment for the Arts be Eliminated?

Restore the Arts founder, Webster Young, was invited twice by the White House to become a candidate for Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, during the time when the poet Dana Gioia was ultimately chosen.

Restore the Arts, as a think tank in the arts, hopes to become a touchstone on debates like the current one about the NEA and NEH.  For those concerned who are searching for answers, the beautiful sculpture of Lincoln, inside the Lincoln Memorial, might yield a clue (since it is government-sponsored art, at its best).

Six years ago, Newsday published the following article by Webster Young, the last time the NEA was being considered for elimination. Basically, this argument for keeping the NEA holds – but cutting the agency altogether may now make sense if it can’t be overhauled.

We will have a lot more to say about this. Basically, the NEA should be saved if it can be overhauled, or if it can’t be overhauled, it should be replaced with a better agency founded on a wiser basis. We do not agree with the idea that government should stay out of the arts. In fact, this is impossible. The government IS involved in the arts – witness the Lincoln Memorial. What is needed is wise government involvement in the arts – and there is a lot that must inform that wisdom.

We would like to consult on this and provide the wise basis for what should be done. Restore the Arts will be offering solutions as we incorporate and begin to raise money for our efforts.


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