The Trump administration record on the arts deprioritizes public arts funding while cutting taxes that help the ultra-rich, known as blue-chip art collectors – but without proper arts funding most of America’s working artists are struggling.
The arts employs 5.1 million Americans and brings in $877 billion to the economy every year, and former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., have pledged greater support to American creativity if elected.
The Biden camp has yet to release an official arts agenda and didn’t respond to a Fox News request for comment.
“Throughout his career Vice President Biden has been a strong supporter of the arts,” a campaign spokesperson told Hyperallergic. “Vice President Biden knows investing in the arts is critical for job creation and he is committed to promoting and supporting the arts in schools as well as the diversity and richness of ideas that keep the artworld alive.”
As a senator, Biden was always a strong arts supporter.
In 1997, he voted against Amendment 1206 in 1997, which would have privatized American arts funding.
In 1973, he supported a resolution to create the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress; in 2000, he helped designate March as Arts Education Month.
In 2003, Biden was an original cosponsor of legislation to establish the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and he has pledged to create a Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino if elected.
This summer, Harris co-sponsored the Confederate Monument Removal Act, a provision to remove statues and busts of those who served the Confederacy or have “unambiguous records of racial intolerance” from the U.S. Capitol.
According to the text of the bill, Confederate statues and busts would mean depictions of individuals who voluntarily served as part of the Confederate military, the military of a state while it was rebelling against the United States or anyone who served as a Confederate government official.
In years past, Harris helped create SFMOMA Matches, a mentoring program that helped students from underserved communities with interest in visual art.
“Kamala was my first pick when the primaries were in session, and it was because I studied her and how she had learned to listen to people,” said artist Lee Quiñones, a member of Arts for Biden-Harris. “And Biden is coming right off the Obama ticket, they were very much involved in the arts. So I knew that they would have a keen eye to working with artists.”
He told Hyperallergic about the future role of art in America: a discontinuation of the artless Trump administration.
“I think that artists can open the aperture of life through the power of their art. That goes along with good administration practices and policy pushing. I think we need to flip the script.”