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4 More Years! The Effect of the Election on the Arts

Official portrait of President Obama
4 More Years!
© 2008 Pete Souza

On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, around approximately 11:30 pm, Barack Obama was reelected for a second term as President of the United States of America.

While this victory brings great news to a variety of community groups around the nation, the one I want to speak on today directly concerns you readers: the arts community. The results of this past Tuesday's election brought with it four more years of continued support for the arts and arts education.

The issue of arts and arts education has been an important issue for President Obama since he was first elected in 2008. He has also secured economic recovery funds that saved artists' jobs through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)—an independent federal agency that supports artists and art organizations.

Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts and Americans for the Arts Action Fund, congratulated the President recently and announced his expectations for the next four years. Americans for the Arts is a national non-profit organization that makes advancements for the arts and arts education. They believe that "the arts are fundamental to humanity and have the power to transform lives, and that arts education develops well-rounded children and citizens." President Obama's support of this organization suggests that he too believes in these things, and there is nothing more important than having the Head of State in favor of the arts.

In President Barack Obama's proposed budget for the year 2013, he called for a 5.5% increase to NEA, putting a special emphasis on arts education in underserved neighborhoods. Data suggests that students exposed to the arts have a higher performance rate in school. With a growing emphasis being placed on math and sciences in classrooms, it is refreshing to see the President still acknowledges the importance of the arts in learning methods. He has been quoted saying, "The arts and the humanities do not just reflect America. They shape America. And as long as I am President, I look forward to making sure they are a priority for this country."

However, the biggest obstacle that arts-supporting politicians face is coming to an agreement on how to cut funding to in order to tackle our nation's debt. If an agreement amongst Congress and the President cannot be reached, it is likely that a percentage of the cut will be applied to not only military funding, but discretionary funding which includes the arts. Hopefully, politicians will be able to "reach across the aisle" and come to a solution that benefits not only the arts community but also the American people.

Next week's quote: "When pure sincerity forms within, it is outwardly realized in other people's hearts." -Lao Tzu


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