What a great inauguration! President Obama stood in front of the country for a second time pledging his oath to serve. I genuinely believe he is a person who wants to do the right thing, and be fair to everyone. He touched on nearly every citizen and non-citizen in this country in his speech, providing hope for a more inclusive tomorrow.
The big fail I refer to in my title, however, comes with what Obama did not say. He did not mention the words "music" or "art" once in his speech. Not once. I'm still surprised to write those words, because in a time when Obama, and indeed all of us, are looking for things that connect and unite us, aren't the arts at (or at least near) the top of the list?
Obama is an academic, with a lot of things on his plate right now. That's all he gets - 14 words worth of excuses. He comes from a city thriving with artists, he currently lives in a city where the Nation's Performing Arts Center is showing great work everyday. He invites artists to nearly every event he has, and I have seen him get teary eyed after stirring vocal and music performances. But his acknowledgement of the arts stops about there...artists are entertainers, but not serious enough to bring into policy talk apparently.
This is a conversation we need to change. We need data, hard facts that the arts produces jobs, better educated workers, and adds to our GDP as well as making us feel good. What are some resources you use to show the hard facts of the arts industry? I'll compile a list and post it later this week!