The arts may flourish in a conservative political landscape, but that doesn't mean we're not ready to move on. Plus, an Obama presidency has a promising impact on the arts:
Whatever it might do for the music business - probably not much, given the deep problems in the industry - Lahr has high hopes for an Obama presidency. “I think the very existence of Barack Obama says something profoundly hopeful about the American experiment. He himself has said it's going to be slow. But I think what we're going to see is a redefinition of the relationship between the individual and the community.” And Mike Goodridge, the US editor of Screen International, believes that an Obama presidency will make a difference in Hollywood. “I do think that in the past eight years American cinema has become a lot bleaker. There have been films such as No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. The classic example is the Batman film The Dark Knight, which is a horrifying indictment of contemporary America.”
These are changes that may happen no matter what direction Obama steers the arts (assuming, again, that he wins). But he does have plans. Early on in his campaign, he convened a 33-strong National Arts Policy Committee, including the novelist Michael Chabon and the founder of the American Film Institute, George Stevens Jr. The team then issued a two-page document laying out Obama's vision for the arts. There's much talk of arts education, “to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society”. Obama wants an “artist corps” to go into schools and ginger up disadvantaged schoolchildren, and there's talk of more money for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).