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  • NEA Tells Artists: Serve the State

    Yesterday, the new Breitbart Web site BigGovernment.com broke more corruption news by releasing an audio recording and transcript of a controversial conference call that took place in early August between officials at the National Endowment for the Arts, the White House Office of Public Engagement, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and various people in the arts community who had supported President Obama’s campaign.

    When the story of the call first broke a few weeks ago, the NEA denied that it had organized the call and also denied that the call was an effort to encourage artists—for whom the NEA (i.e., the taxpayer) is the single largest source of arts funding—to produce works that support the president and his policy initiatives. As the transcripts shows, however, participants on the call—including Patrick Courrielche, the reporter who originally broke the story—could not but perceive it as an attempt to encourage artists to use their art to support the president’s agenda. Here are some choice excerpts:

    Michael Skolnick, political director for hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons:

    I have been asked by the folks in the White House and folks in the NEA about a month ago in a conversation that we had. We had the idea that I would help bring together the independent artists community around the country. … [I]t’s clear as an independent art community as artists and thinkers and tastemakers and marketers and visionaries on this call, the role that we played during the campaign for the president and also during his first 200 some odd days of his presidency and the president has a clear arts agenda and has been very supportive of using art and supporting art in creative ways to talk about some of the issues that we face here in our country and also to engage people.

    And I think all of us who are on this phone call were selected for a reason, and you are the ones that lead by example in your communities. You are the thought leaders. … And so I’m hoping that through this group and the goal of all this and the goal of this phone call, is through the group that we can create a stronger community amongst ourselves to get involved in things that we’re passionate about as we did during the campaign but continue to get involved in those things, to support some of the president’s initiatives, but also to do things that we are passionate about and to push the president and push his administration.

    Buffy Wicks, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement:

    And, you know, we won and that’s exciting, and now we have to take all that energy and make it really meaningful. I’m in the White House now and what I’ve learned over these first—we just had our 200 mark on Saturday, which sounds crazy, is that it’s—that change does not come easy and, you know, when then Candidate Obama would say that it’s like, yeah, I know change doesn’t come easy, but then now that I’m actually in the White House and working towards furthering this agenda, this very aggressive agenda, I’m really realizing that, and I’m also appreciative of the way in which we did win and the strategy that the campaign shows, which is really to engage people at a local level and to engage them in the process, because we need them and we need you, and we’re going to need your help, and we’re going to come at you with some specific asks here.

    After identifying health care and energy and environment as two of the four areas in which artists can use their art to encourage change (education and community renewal were the other two areas) Wicks told the group:

    I know I’m throwing a lot of government stuff at you guys, so bear with me. It’s the world we live in now. We’re actually running the government.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    22 Responses to NEA Tells Artists: Serve the State

    1. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      The ends will justify the means.

      Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, the "bible" of the far-left.

    2. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      We must eliminate rhe career politician in order to stop the wholesale looting of the country. They have stolen four trillion in nine months. Everyone who wants a decent life for themselves and their children after this year must get very personally engaged and stay that way for the rest of our lives. Apathy and ignorance have alowed the radicals to take over all the levers of power, greed and corruption will destroy our way of life, and we will think india is paradise if we do not work tirelessly for freedom and economic security. Everybody needs to find a person they know and trust, and talk them into running, and replace the local corrupt career politician. If Even one of the corrupt incumbents up for reelection in 2010 get back in, we are doomed. This will take the greatest grass roots movement in history, because the entrenched crooks, who have decided we are to be ignored, taxed, and killed have all the money and media on their side. So this movement must be person to person, totally by Passing THE MEDIA AND ADVERTISEMENTS WHICH WILL ALL BE BROUGHT TO BEAR AGAINST THE HONEST CHALLENGER.

    3. Bobbie Jay says:

      Art is personal. It's been the artists will to reach out to people personally not forcibly. For the first time in history, has become bias for president obama while other peoples' money pay the artists way whether they like it or not. No choice. Talk about another unconstitutional act on both parts.

      An artist should never feel so low as to force their art work on all at the expense of the unentitled, just to make history as conspirators of visual indoctrination!

      The artists' lose their authenticity when backed by government.

    4. Brad S,, Detroit, MI says:

      Buffy the English language slayer.

      What a buffoon. How old is she ? 12 ? How did she get appointed the Deputy Director of anything except maybe for the school yearbook ?

      No mention of this in the mainstream media. How ironic. More wasted tax dollars. The circle of our taxes continues. The stimulus plan was nothing more than payback for election support and now we have more of our money funding further "grass roots" support of this administration. Stop public funding of the arts now. If it cannot survive on its own merit, it deserves to go away.

    5. Steve, Suitland,MD says:

      Here we go, now the NEA has joined the ranks of the Teachers Union, the UAW,GE and many other leftist organizations! Selling out to the Obama barn yard rederick to push his socilist agenda! Just to keep the faith with the Leftist Democratic party in order to keep the free ride no matter the price to the american people and the future of this great nation!


      But it's the Tax Payers MONEY!! What ever happened to "By the People for the People"?!?!? Not the government knows what is best for the mulititudes!

    6. Greg, AZ says:

      The NEA should be abolished. Art must stand on it's own if it is to have any credibility. It must prove itself first, then patronage will be forthcoming. All of the great artists of history had to struggle to get recognition by patrons. It is nonsense that anyone with a pencil, paint brush, or a hammer and chisel be given carte blanche to whip out some sort of garbage and call it art simply because some endowment group says so.

    7. George Haksch, Rockv says:

      This smells like, how it was in former communist countries. The artists were constricted to do artwork, which promotes socialist ideology only.

    8. Jeff, Rehoboth says:

      To me the title almost misses the point. The content of the article lays out the facts well, but does not get to the true insidious nature of what is going on here.

      I expect the artsy-types to go gaga over the left's agenda. The folks that aren't inclined to the left aren't going to become leftists just because the NEA tells them to.

      How about being clear: "NEA urges tax dollars be spent to promote Obama agenda"

      or "Pay for Play"

      I have have this vision in my head of our our old friend James Carville saying to the late Tim Russert, "It's 'payolla' Tim, pure and simple".

    9. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      The corruption is rampant in this administration, this is just the tip of the mountain, just listen to the likes of Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Mike church etc, those who are not afraid to look into this mess. What ever happened to HONEST reporting and going into facts. Ernie Pyle never reported what someone else wanted him to, he went into battle to report the truth, 60 Min used to as did 20/20, seems they are all afraid of Obama. The Wash Post has printed some but they mostly play down anything against the liberals, the NY Times is all Liberal, I thank God for a local paper and Fox as well as Siurus radio.

    10. Tim Az says:

      If you look you will find that most groups like these that are funded with tax dollars. Are funded by the left in Congress for the express perpose of promoting the lefts ideology. We can no longer allow our tax dollars to be given to charities. The lefts argument has always been that Americans are not charitable towards these organizations so we must give them tax payer dollars. And now we know why they insist on funding these organizations with tax dollars. The people will not fund those who support the socializing America. No more tax dollars for nonprofit organizations.

    11. DAN MOFFATT says:



    12. Concerned, Raleigh, says:

      It looks as if this Administration is going to emplode. I am somewhat bittersweet about this thought. I am a black american male. I did not vote for the President, but I was glad to see the first black american elected to the highest office in the world. I think the czars and helpful comments made (or not made) by the media and ex-presidents, celibritys, etc. will help expedite the process.

      I do think Americans want less Govenment interaction. We need to add health as the new unspoken taboo – don't talk about 'race,sex,religion, or health). Contrary to popular belief – Capitalism works! Just say no to the 'nanny' state.

    13. Jill Hetherington says:

      It boggles my mind how al these so called free sprirts like Hollywood stars, artists and the wanna be hippies are always in favor of oppressive regimes like the one we are saddled with. I can't figure it out.

    14. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Every aspect of our society has been infiltrated, during the past several decades, right under our noses. While we were protesting wars, fighting between political parties, and paying attention to other, what we considered "important matters",

      we allowed the Marxist and socialist to slowly worm their way into every fabric of our lives(including Congress). Now, with the fraudulent election of Obama, the cat is out of the bag (or the Commi is out of the closet). If we don't come together NOW to make real change, we will loose

      our country before the next election.

    15. sue m. redding, ca. says:

      i have long been frustrated with government grants and support of "the arts" – usually filth and left leaning propaganda and we are forced to donate. there are no grants to support up and coming athletes, who many times cannot afford to devote time and money required to develop their talents to the fullest. anyone for starting town hall demands to cut off funding to hollywood?

    16. Roger, Selinsgrove P says:

      The subversive or even advertised integration of government funding into public organizations has caused, and rightly so, a scepticism which lowers or destroys the credibility of that organization and has the additional effect of reducing the willingness of advocates to donate or get involved in that organization. It also taints and corrupts the intended purpose of the founders and becomes a chip on the table to be bartered with.

    17. Gary N., San Antonio says:

      Wow! Just when we think we've seen it all! But no, once again we expose the radical-left with both hands in the cookie jar! Well, I hope we're awake now — truly, we will have to stay in this fight for the rest of our lives IF we are to re-gain this Republic! We were asleep at the wheel, but now we see "eternal vigilance is the price of freedom". Pray that it is not too late!!!

    18. Jerry from Chicago says:

      The part that scares me is that we have no control over the National Endowment for the Arts. It's probably the understatement of the millenium to say that I don't care for rap music

      (by whatever name it's called). I know people and companies make millions on this stuff, my only consolation was believeing that these "entertainers" weren't getting a penny from me. Now, I'm not so certain.

      Artists have their patrons, even today. A singer, a song writer, a playwrite, an actor, a painter or sculptor will find a way to practice his or her art and show it. If those who see it like it, they will gladly pay for it. I don't see it as a role of government to subsidize 'artists' with tax dollars. Who defines 'art' anyway? What may be thought provoking an unusual to one may be obscene to another. There are plenty of other places to dispense our limited tax dollars such as food pantries, homeless shelters and free clinics for indigents.

    19. Pingback: » Obama using NEA to fund state run community organizing Amorian: Love, Faith and Liberty

    20. Vested says:

      I have artist friends from Romania who were there when the Communists Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu ruled. They told horror stories of how the government furnished "jobs" to the starving artists in the country to paint patriotic scenes, posters, and portraits (of Ceausescu) for propaganda purposes. It was some of the only work available for the artists, and they did it to feed their families – even though many were ashamed of their involvement in such a repressive regime.

    21. Cindy Fallbrook says:

      I can't wait until we get to the part where artist are allowed only to produce ART approved by the state. All these spoiled rich by capitalism artists will starve from lack of creativity as they did in the documentary "The Lives of Others".

      You artist will deserve this for your blind support. Can all be so ill informed of history?

      Set in 1980s East Berlin, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's debut feature (which earned an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film) provides an exquisitely nuanced portrait of life under the watchful eye of the state police. When a successful playwright and his actress companion become subjects of the Stasi's secret surveillance program, their friends, family — and even those doing the watching — find their lives forever changed.

    22. Earl, Queens, NY says:

      As if the government didn’t squander enough of OUR (tax) MONEY on corrupt leftist groups like ACORN. I’ve heard about the NEA’s desecration of the crucifix in a jar. Now we see more corruption. Think of all of OUR MONEY that can be saved if we defund not only ACORN, but the National Endowment for the Arts and other agencies which do nothing good for America. BTW, speaking of NEA, why don’t we also decertify and shut down the leftist teachers union?

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