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About This Interview:
Artsology submitted media requests through both candidates' websites, asking for an e-mail interview regarding their opinions of the Arts in America. No response has yet been received from either candidate, but further investigation found sufficient information regarding Obama and McCain's positions on the arts, so Artsology has decided to move forward with a "mock interview" of the candidates. Please note that all "answers" are quoted from noted sources, with links to those sources at the bottom of the page. Artsology welcomes any further source material that our viewers might provide so that we can provide some greater depth on these topics.

Obama and McCain on the Arts in America"

The Presidential Candidates and the Arts in America

The forthcoming election has a lot of extremely pressing issues: the economy, war in Iraq, national security, global warming, and so on ... but while the candidates' opinions of the arts in America are not in the headlines, it is an area that we want to investigate and want to provide a compare-and-contrast venue in advance of November's elections. Our moderators will be American artists and musicians who have helped shape our culture over the past century.

Please note the disclosure on the right regarding the source material for this feature.
Thomas Hart Benton Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), American painter, teacher at the Art Students League in NYC, and teacher of Jackson Pollock:

In these trying times, with financial markets suffering, Americans losing their jobs and their homes, why should we spend any time at all worrying about the arts? Why is it important for young Americans to learn about the arts? Does it matter if kids know about art and music history when we need to secure our placement in the global economy? Should the next Jackson Pollock study finance instead of art?
Presidential candidate Barack Obama comments on the arts in America Barack Obama: "In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education. Unfortunately, many school districts are cutting instructional time for art and music education. I believe that the arts should be a central part of effective teaching and learning."

Footnote #1
Presidential candidate John McCain comments on the arts in America John McCain: "No comment."     Footnote #2

On education, in general: "We need to ... strengthen math, science, technology and engineering curriculums ..."     Footnote #3

An interesting sidenote: John McCain's daughter Meghan majored in Art History in college.     Footnote #4
Charlie Parker, Bird, famous jazz musician and saxophonist Charlie Parker (1920-1955), also known as "Bird," one of the most-influential musicians of the 20th Century, a jazz saxophoone legend:

Who would you list as some of your favorite musical artists?
Presidential candidate Barack Obama comments on the arts in America Barack Obama: "Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Johann Sebastian Bach (cello suites), and The Fugees."

Footnote #5
Presidential candidate John McCain comments on the arts in America John McCain: "ABBA, Roy Orbison, Merle Haggard, Dooley Wilson, The Beach Boys, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, The Platters."

Footnote #6
Willem De Kooning Willem De Kooning (1904-1997), Abstract Expressionist painter who became prominent in the 1950's in New York:

What is your opinion of government funding for the NEA, the "National Endowment for the Arts?" Facts show that government funding for the NEA has been cut from $175 million annually in 1992 to $125 million today. Do you plan to continue this trend, hold steady, or increase funding?

By the way, for those of you who wonder what the NEA does, look at this list of recent grant recipients whose focus is "Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth."
Presidential candidate Barack Obama comments on the arts in America Barack Obama: "I support increased funding for the NEA, the support of which enriches schools and neighborhoods all across the nation and helps to promote the economic development of countless communities."

Footnote #1
Presidential candidate John McCain comments on the arts in America John McCain: "I have opposed federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts because I believe it is not proper to use tax dollars for what many Americans feel are the obscene and inappropriate projects this organization has supported. I support providing federal block grants to the states for arts education and artistic endeavors pursued by state and local authorities, while assuring that federal tax dollars are not spent on obscene or offensive material."

Footnote #7
Andy Warhol Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Pop artist, best known for his paintings of soup cans:

I was once quoted as saying that "good business is the best art." I like the fact that there is a group of "Artists for Obama" who are contributing art for the campaign. Can both of you give us some insight on your thoughts about art and business?
Presidential candidate Barack Obama comments on the arts in America Barack Obama: "I have three artists who have created limited edition art works for my campaign: Antar Dayal, Scott Hanson, and Shepard Fairey. All three editions have sold out!"     Footnote #8

"Regarding business and art, I want to engage the foundation and corporate community to increase support for public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations."     Footnote #1
Presidential candidate John McCain comments on the arts in America John McCain: "I believe that globalization is an opportunity for American workers today and in the future. Ninety-five percent of the world's customers lie outside our borders and we need to be at the table when the rules for access to those markets are written. To do so, the U.S. should engage in multilateral, regional and bilateral efforts to reduce barriers to trade, level the global playing field and build effective enforcement of global trading rules."     Footnote #9
Footnote Source material:

1. Barack Obama Fact Sheet: The Arts
2. McCain Arts Policy: not found
3. John McCain on Education
4. Elle Magazine feature on the McCain family
5. Barack Obama profile on Eons
6. McCain Favorite Songs
7. Art & Seek Blog
8. Artists for Obama
9. JohnMcCain.com View on Small Business

Salvador Dali at Artsology Artsology offers free online games about the arts, and delivers investigations into topics in the visual arts, music, and literature. Artsology is a good resource for fun learning about the arts for people of all ages and is enjoyed by students, homeschoolers, and adults. Follow us on Twitter or become a fan of our Facebook page.Miles Davis at Artsology

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