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Obama Drama: Tax Fairness for Artists, Impact Film Festival

Claude Gerstle, subject of an Impact Film Festival documentary on stem cell research, being shown during each party’s national convention

Now that we’ve shifted from the athletic Olympics to the political olympics, it’s time to peruse Barack Obama‘s Platform in Support of the Arts (see P. 3). It’s pro-arts education and also favors a budget increase for the National Endowment for the Arts.

But here’s the hot-button paragraph, which will gladden most art advocates:

Ensure Tax Fairness for Artists: Barack Obama supports the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The Act amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow artists to deduct the fair market value of their work, rather than just the costs of the materials, when they make charitable contributions.

Although Patty Gerstenblith, De Paul University law professor and outspoken advocate of the repatriation of antiquities, is on the 33-member Obama National Arts Policy Committee (listed on P. 2), the platform doesn’t touch that particular hot potato.

As a side note: While others have written about the visual-art activities pegged to the Democratic National Convention, I haven’t seen anything yet about the Impact Film Festival, to be held during each party’s convention. It
features socially-themed documentaries, dramatic films and related panel discussions, intended to “spark
conversations on important policy issues, creating a ripple effect
throughout both Conventions.”

I have a personal interest in this: My friend, neighbor and fiercely competitive bridge-playing opponent (above) is the focus
of one of the documentaries, Accidental Advocate, being screened today and Sept. 2. Here’s the film’s website. And here’s its description:

When Claude Gerstle, a surgeon and athlete, suffers a
tragic bicycle
accident that leaves him paralyzed from the neck down, he and his
daughter, Jessica (former producer, Dateline NBC), embark on a moving
odyssey to track down the thinkers, politicians, crusaders and
nay-sayers at the heart of the federally funded stem cell research
quagmire. Featuring Michael J. Fox, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Orin Hatch,
Sam Brownback.

Another of the Impact Festival films is The Black List, which is also being shown this week on HBO.

an ArtsJournal blog