Flash Points

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Hope and Change, Part 2

hope

On February 13th I received this message, as many of you did, from Americans for the Arts:

Just moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives approved their final version of the Economic Recovery bill by a vote of 246-183. We can now confirm that the package DOES include $50 million in direct support for arts jobs through National Endowment for the Arts grants. We are also happy to report that the exclusionary Coburn Amendment language banning certain arts groups from receiving any other economic recovery funds has also been successfully removed.

Picking up on a blog post written by my colleague Beth Allen on February 3rd, I started thinking about how political change will affect art education and our students. The beginning certainly hasn’t been easy. More than a few kids have come to school recently with stories about one (or both) parents losing a job, or the anxiety surrounding an impending layoff. Prior to the election, Americans saw plenty of murals, graphic designs, and examples of fine art that celebrated hope and urged involvement in the election. Less than a month into President Obama taking office, students throughout the country have had to deal with euphoria followed by the crushing reality of a reeling economy.

Prior to the Economic Recovery bill being passed, Beth Allen asked how political change will affect art. While the film is still being shot and sketches are still in the development phase, I am willing to bet we will soon see a panoramic assortment of images that represent change—painful, positive, passionate—as we move forward.

Please share images (or stories) reflecting how your students have responded to the changing political climate….

Contributor
Joe Fusaro is the senior education advisor for Art21, and has written Art21’s “Teaching with Contemporary Art” column since 2008. He is an exhibiting artist and visual arts chair for the Nyack Public Schools in New York; and an adjunct instructor for New York University’s Graduate Program in Art and Arts Professions.
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