Thursday, February 5, 2009

Starving Artists

There appear to be some opposing the inclusion of funds for arts jobs in the Congressional stimulus package, as reported in the Boston Globe.

Outgoing National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia, an esteemed poet, successful corporate leader and prominent Republican, decried such opposition, quoting FDR's right-hand man Harry Hopkins' statement about artists when extending them a hand during the Great Depression: "Hell, they've got to eat just like other people."

Gioia went Hopkins one better: "As far as I've heard, nothing has changed about the dietary needs of artists."


phodgins said...

I recently watched a great film about the tumultuous birth of Blitzstein's "The Cradle Will Rock." (I think it goes by the same name.) Anyone who questions the vitality, passion and relevance of the arts in times of crisis should rent this movie.

Rick Stein said...

Paul, thanks for pointing that out. In the early 1980s, I met John Houseman and brought in the revival he directed of "The Cradle Will Rock" for the touring theatre, The Acting Company. It was a splendid production, and each performance was preceded by a brief monologue Houseman wrote about the original Federal Theatre Project production (he actually delivered that monologue at the limited New York run by the Acting Company). It's a great piece--and a great story!