As we all know President Obama is taking on challenges that have faced America for years. His plate is full of responsibilities that as a citizen I cannot even begin to comprehend how long his “to-do” list is for the next four years. I would venture a guess that his Microsoft Outlook calendar is triple-booked from now until 2012. So taking on a new challenge or debate on whether or not he should appoint a Secretary for the Arts has become increasingly strong. Quincy Jones or rather “Q” as he likes to be called has taken it upon himself to start a petition to encourage President Obama to support and develop such a position. Of course, as an arts administration student and a person employed by an arts organization I find this idea to be fascinating and exciting. Is it idealistic? Yes. Could it become a reality? I hope so.
The direction that such a position could take in this country could change the entire arts community. This person would advocate for arts funding and arts education on a federal level. No longer would this type of advocacy be left to large organizations. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing but putting a face to the cause of the arts would hopefully make the need for funding more evident to those who do not understand the necessity of the arts to our country. Yes, I am biased. I will argue the benefits of the arts until the day I die but unfortunately I don’t think they would hire me being that I am no “Q”.
If the arts can become a front-running topic during the infancy days of President Obama’s administration I fear that they can be pushed aside too early on. However I also feel the sooner that arts advocates reach out to the President the better chance they have of adding the cause to his to-do list. As the arts try to find their way during these unpredictable economic times having a representative on our side could make us a feel a little more confident about our future in this country.
I applaud Q’s efforts, I just hope that they will lead to success or if not that then a continued discussion on arts support in this country outside of the arts organization’s walls.