Richard Florida: Next NEA Chairman!

Entirely wishful thinking on my part.

But consider this:  Now is an opportune – and incredibly necessary – time to connect the nation’s arts & cultural policy to our country’s most profound challenges.

With all due respect and appreciation to NEA Chairs of the past, the ideal leader for President Obama’s second term is someone who can substantially inspire, articulate and mobilize the significant opportunity of the arts & cultural sector to contribute to the vitality of our nation.

I dream of Richard Florida in that position.  You know him as the author of the global best-sellers The Rise of the Creative Class and Who’s Your City?. His new book, The Great Reset explains how new ways of living and working will drive post-crash prosperity.  His biography reads as a syllabus of intellect and innovation – including a position interestingly titled “European Ambassador for Creativity and Innovation.”

THAT is the kind of intellectual fuel that the American arts & cultural sector (and our national community) deserves (and, quite frankly, desperately needs!).

For additional information:   

What excites me about the idea of Richard Florida is the fervent belief that “relevance” isn’t just a buzzword for arts & cultural organizations to discuss at conferences and reference in their strategic plans.  For the next four years (and beyond) arts & cultural organizations achieve relevance by making a meaningful contribution to – the major local, regional, statewide and national issues of our day, including:

  • Recession & Recovery
  • War (and Peace)
  • Immigration
  • International Relations
  • Gun Control
  • Mental Health
  • Technological Innovation
  • Economic Development
  • Education
  • Federal Budget & Deficit
  • and so much more.

Understand, arts & cultural organizations are not necessarily supposed to take sides in the debate.

But there should be no doubt that we can, should AND MUST do a better job of using our theaters, galleries and venues (and all the diverse audience engagement strategies at our disposal) in ways that help our communities and political leaders engage in meaningful dialogue.

Let’s set the bar THAT HIGH for what we should accomplish over the next four years.

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  1. Valerie Coleman says

    Well Said!!!! Your article reached to the core of my own philosophical beliefs about the arts and how it can transform a community on every level. Very inspirational.

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