by John Stoehr
From Bloomberg News, 10/31/2008 . . .
Obama Tapped Hal Prince, Michael Chabon to Craft Culture Plank
"[Now President-Elect] Barack Obama writes poetry, gets props from Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z, and is the first White House contender to include a far-reaching arts plank in his platform. The proposals range from increased support for arts education and the National Endowment for the Arts, to changing the federal tax code for artists.
"It is unprecedented,'' said Robert L. Lynch, president and chief executive officer of Americans for the Arts, a Washington- based arts advocacy group, explaining that no presidential candidate in recent times has addressed cultural issues in such detail.
"In a time of economic turmoil, the arts is the last thing on anyone's mind, and yet it's the most important time to support the arts,'' Elizabeth Currid, an expert on urban policy and the economic impact of the arts at the University of Southern California's School of Policy, Planning and Development, said in an interview.
Presidential hopefuls have used the glamour of culture to help them get elected, and winners have brought in stars of Hollywood and the Metropolitan Opera to mingle with royalty at White House dinners. Jacqueline Kennedy drew a connection between her husband's term and the "shining city on a hill'' envisioned by King Arthur in "Camelot,'' a Broadway hit at the time.