Americans for the Arts Action Fund President and CEO Robert L. Lynch gave the following statement on the results of Election Day:
“The historic election of Sen. Barack Obama to be the 44th president of the United States will have tremendous impact on the nation’s arts community, public schools, and creative workforce. His commitment to arts and arts education on the campaign trail is just a preview of what his administration can accomplish. President-Elect Obama demonstrates the leadership and vision to advance the arts in America through investing in more arts education in public schools, advocating for increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, promoting cultural diplomacy, and supporting artists rights.
Yesterday’s election results also expanded the base of support for the arts in Congress, which will help move arts and arts education initiatives through the legislative process. Initiatives that will fuel innovation and creativity are key to our economic recovery and global competitiveness. A new report issued last month by The Conference Board, “Ready to Innovate,” touts the importance of arts education in building the 21st-century workforce. The arts are good for business, good for the economy, and good for the spirit.
In this election, the Americans for the Arts Action Fund raised the public dialogue about the arts and arts education throughout the entire campaign cycle: from presidential primaries in New Hampshire to congressional races in all 50 states. Through our ArtsVote2008 initiative, we successfully advocated for presidential and congressional candidates to make strong, public statements and commitments in support of arts and arts education. Please view our multimedia timeline for further details on ArtsVote.
On the state and local front, our arts advocacy partners successfully engaged candidates and voters throughout the country to provide more support for the arts. Specifically in Minnesota, an historic statewide ballot initiative—the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment—passed amending the state constitution to dedicate a portion of sales tax to support its natural and cultural resources. This initiative will infuse $30 million alone to Minnesota cultural organizations, nearly tripling the current budget of the State Arts Board. An additional $10 million to $20 million will fund arts education programs, the Minnesota Historical Society, and other local historical societies. This continues the longstanding trend demonstrating that voters are willing to invest in public funding of the arts.”