Forget Tech for a Sec, How Will the Arts Help the Obama Administration?
The Obama campaign mobilized an unprecedented amount of activity from the creative community. Musicians, actors, comedians, filmmakers, graphic designers, painters, sculptors, and others applied their talents to registering, educating, and engaging voters. Shepard Fairey, the Obama Girl, Oprah, and Will.i.am were critical to branding an unfamiliar candidate and making us feel connected to him.
While there has been a tremendous amount of discussion about the role of technology and new media in winning the election, and its role going forward in the new Administration, there has been little talk about the role of culture. Until now. Yesterday, more than 60 artists and creative organizers engaged in civic participation, community development, education, social justice, activism, and philanthropy came together at the White House for a briefing on arts and social change. This meeting appears to have been setting the stage for the announcement today of Rocco Landesman as the Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Instigated in part by Yosi Sergant, the man who promoted Shepard Fairey's "Hope" poster, the purpose of the briefing was to learn about key Obama Administration initiatives and other action campaigns that might be advanced through the engagement of artists. The goal was to share examples from the field and facilitate the inclusion of dynamic cultural strategies as an integral part of the Administration's agenda for economic recovery, community renewal, and civic engagement.