The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced a quartet of appointments from the new Biden administration but still no word on a chair to replace Trump administration appointee Mary Anne Carter.
While there’s no shortage of scuttlebutt over who will get tapped to be the new chair, the pandemic casts the agency in an entirely new light.
Simply put, does the country need a traditional NEA run by dedicated professionals or do we need to begin pushing for substantive change capable of lifting the agency out of its status as a federal budget after thought?
We touched on this notion a bit at the beginning of the month but perhaps a better frame of reference is an excellent article by Zachary Woolfe in the 1/13/2021 edition of the New York Times where he compares two singers, one in the US, the other in Germany. Spoiler, the one living in Germany is have a much better time navigating the financial stresses triggered by the pandemic.
While it’s understandable that this may not seem like the opportune time to begin pushing the American nonprofit cultural sector toward a model that integrates the sort of safety net from the European model, I can’t imagine anything better.
What are your thoughts? What do you want out of a new NEA? Is a return to normal enough or should we expect more?