October 30, 2008

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Squeaky wheel
Legislators tell artists to speak up

By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

Supporting arts in education was a position politicians had in common at the New Hampshire Citizens for the Arts 2008 Candidates Forum on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester.

Candidates Joe Kenney, Paul Hodes, Carol Shea-Porter and Jennifer Horn spoke and answered questions. Jeanne Shaheen’s daughter Stefany represented the former governor’s Senate campaign, while Van McLeod represented Barack Obama’s campaign.

Van McLeod for Barack Obama
While McLeod is the commissioner for the New Hampshire Dept. of Cultural Resources, he spoke at the forum as a private citizen. McLeod said he was a Republican until switching to Independent a couple of years ago. McLeod is a member of Obama’s national arts policy committee; he said Obama understands arts are about economic development and cultural diplomacy. One part of the policy is to create an “Artist Corps” that puts artists in “low-income schools and their communities.” Obama supports the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, which would allow artists to deduct “fair market value” for donated works. Obama also supports increasing NEA funding, according to the policy.

Joe Kenney
Republican State Senator Joe Kenney of Wakefield is running for governor against incumbent Democrat John Lynch. 

Kenney told attendees that his mother was a professional singer in the 1940s and 1950s and worked with well-known musicians. “We’re really trying to hold onto our cultural past ... the only way we can do that in some ways is to go back into the past, grab that and move it into the future. And get our young people involved as we’re doing that.” Kenney said public-private partnerships should garner enough money to support arts during a tough economy. Asked what level of funding he would support for New Hampshire’s Land and Community Investment Program (LCHIP), Kenney said he would like to see it self-funded, either through license plates or other voluntary contribution. Forum host Bob Shea, director of the Dana Center at Saint Anselm College, asked what Kenney would consider an appropriate level of state support for NH State Council on the Arts. “I would base it on the health of the economy,” Kenny said; he declined to state a specific amount of funding, saying he had not been asked that before.

Carol Shea-Porter
Congresswoman Shea-Porter, a Democrat, is seeking a second term representing the First District of New Hampshire.

“Can we afford to cut back [on arts support] in times of economic hardship? I would say the answer is a resounding no,” Shea-Porter said. “What arts do is for us is … tell us the things we might not be able to articulate by words, they comfort us, they connect us to the past, they present the future to us. Why would we cut back in a time when we need it more than ever?” Shea-Porter said. Shea asked her about a policy the IRS set this year that “holds presenters responsible for taxation on artists’ fees.” The congresswoman said she is familiar with the issue due to a constituent’s concern. She is working on finding out what the intent of the legislation was.

Marilyn Hoffman, president of the board of NHCFTA, asked if Shea-Porter or others are looking at how arts funding can come from other federal departments, like commerce, education or transportation. Shea-Porter said she knows there is a large embassy program, and said that the Education and Labor Committee, of which she is a member, is concerned about the impact of moving away from the arts to focus on a few subjects because of the No Child Left Behind Act. “I think that’s to our detriment, I think that’s shortsighted.” When asked about failed efforts to allow artists to deduct from taxes the value of their work rather than just the value of materials when they donate pieces, Shea-Porter said she thought the current situation is “insulting.” “The best thing you can do is to keep talking to your legislators,” Shea-Porter said.

Paul Hodes
Democratic state Rep. Paul Hodes, running for his second term representing the state’s Second District, majored in French drama at Dartmouth and spent years in New York working as an actor and producer. He wrote The Edsel Was a Mistake, performed off-off-Broadway in 1975. Now he’s on the board of the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord. He and his wife Peggo have produced children’s music together.

Arts funding in the U.S. is “pitifully small,” he said.

“It’s what we leave as artistic creations and expressions that we will be remembered by,” Hodes said. He said NCLB narrows curriculum, and arts are the first thing cut in schools at a time when “we need to teach our children not simply what to think on standardized tests but how to think ... we need creative problem-solvers in an increasingly complex world.” Thinking creatively leads to innovation, “which is what the economy … is going to be about,” Hodes said. 

An attendee pointed out that other countries spend more on their arts and culture than their military and wanted to know what it would take to get the U.S. to redirect military funds to the arts. Hodes said that “effective government works when there is a groundswell among the citizens — an inescapable effort made to educate the representatives about what the people want.” He is “lobbied by many different groups ... [and] many different arts groups, all the time,” he said, but has not seen sufficient organization to convince many legislators “that we should cut one single fighter plane from the budget and spend the money on the arts.” Hodes said “a hard-headed argument needs to be made that arts are about business and about competitiveness” to get attention.

Jennifer Horn
Republican Horn of Nashua, a former columnist and radio host who owns a business with her husband, is running against Hodes.

New to politics, she has no voting record, and she spoke from her perspective as a mother of five children, she said. Horn noted that her children’s schools have active art programs and she thinks arts need to be built into school curriculum. When asked what level of federal funding should be set for arts, Horn said, “I think that it is an important, appropriate expenditure for government.” However, she said she doesn’t yet have the knowledge to comment on what has been spent. Shea asked where she saw arts fitting into federal curriculum guidelines. They should be of equal importance to other subjects, Horn said.

Stefany Shaheen for Jeanne Shaheen
Stefany Shaheen, daughter of former governor Shaheen, spoke for her mother’s campaign for U.S. Senate. Stefany said she and her family with four children moved to Portsmouth more than a year ago because of its cultural activities. They were finding that they were spending almost every afternoon driving to Portsmouth because their children participate in arts and cultural activities there. As governor, Jeanne Shaheen worked for sending New Hampshire representation to a Smithsonian festival in Washington, D.C. She worked to find new markets for New Hampshire artists and was the first governor to lead trade missions beyond North America, and she supported LCHIP, Stefany said.

The others
Hoffman said all candidates were invited. Gov. Lynch wanted to attend but could not, and could not get a surrogate in time, she said.

Senator John McCain was in Manchester that day on short notice, but could not attend the forum. Other candidates, including Bradley and U.S. Sen. John Sununu, were busy at his events. Jeb Bradley was also busy preparing for a debate that night with Shea-Porter, Hoffman said.

The McCain campaign originally planned to send a representative, but those available became tied up with the candidate’s short-notice visit, Hoffman said. “They have no arts policy,” Hoffman said.

Musician Tom Rush was expected to speak for Obama as well, but his wife was ill.

Artist Denise Brown asked many of the candidates about their stance on Orphan Works legislation. See page 6 for that information.



10/23/2008 Be surrounded by art making

10/16/2008 Receptions and open studios everywhere
10/9/2008 Copyright blues
10/2/2008 Andres Institute at 10 years
9/25/2008 Andy Warhol's world leaders
9/18/2008Local color
9/11/2008Local color
9/4/2008 A weekend of fests
8/28/2008 Currier ventures into pop art
8/21/2008 Expert help on a craft project
8/14/2008 Great outdoors
8/7/2008 Local color
7/31/2008 Continuing tradition and exchaning culture
7/24/2008 Drinking for animals; masters of woodcraft
7/17/2008 What's an arts market
7/10/2008 Curtain calls
7/03/2008 The Lambovich Brothers
6/26/2008 HAS: How Art†Sells
6/19/2008 It's trolley tour time
6/12/2008 Helping hand
6/5/2008 Sumi-e and photography
5/29/2008 Digital to paint
5/22/2008 New Kimball-Jenkins board members
5/15/2008 Making it in New York ... or New Hampshire
5/8/2008 Public eye
5/1/2008 Art for Mother's Day
4/24/2008 New art walk planned for Manchester
4/17/2008 Awards for the state's artists
4/10/2008 New directions
4/3/2008 New exhibits: no April Art Walk
3/27/2008 Monastary Gibbons "Visions of Monadnock"
3/20/2008 Currier opens March 30 with week of free admission
3/13/2008 Looking back at baseball
3/6/2008 Painting, calligraphy and classic cars
2/28/2008 More snow delays; Dartmouth receives arts endowment
2/21/2008 Prints and animals in Concord
2/14/2008 From the Andes to New Hampshire
2/7/2008 What does your butt say
1/31/2008 Local color
1/24/2008 Local color
1/17/2008 Conversation starter
1/10/2008 Nominate your favorite arts-loving business
1/3/2008 The inner personalities of rubber finger puppets
12/27/2007 Changes in the arts in 2007
12/20/2007 Local Color
12/13/2007 Portsmouth markets Christmas spirit
12/6/2007 One more cause
11/29/2007 Three days of merriment
11/22/2007 Advocating for arts; Zimmerman season ends soon
11/15/2007 Images, past and present
11/8/2007 Back in time at a Concord mansion
11/1/2007 Governor honors artists with art
10/25/2007 Spatial Matters
10/18/2007 Perfecting a craft
10/11/2007 Handmade furniture
10/04/2007 Capturing nature on canvas and by camera
9/27/2007 Local color
9/20/2007 Nashua, in the abstract
9/13/2007 Local Color
9/6/2007 Looking at the world
8/30/2007 Art in the fresh air
8/23/2007 Berlin pride
8/16/2007 Finding money
8/9/2007 Park of arts
8/2/2007 New Hampshire treasure honored again
7/26/2007 Taking care of wood
7/19/2007 Local Color
7/12/2007 Local Color
7/5/2007 Local Color
6/28/2007 Local Color
6/21/2007 The great outdoors
6/14/2007 Play per day
6/7/2007 Goodbye, gallery
5/31/2007 Impressions
5/24/2007 Local color
5/17/2007 Stieglitz in Manchester
5/10/2007 They're artists and they vote
5/3/2007 Lowell is the canvas for a summer of art
4/26/2007 Local color
4/19/2007 Local color
4/12/2007 Local color
4/5/2007 A Saint paul student returns to show recent work
3/29/2007 Local color
3/22/2007 Compassionate cause
3/15/2007 Local color
3/8/2007 Making money
3/1/2007 Local Color
2/22/2007 Local Color
2/15/2007 Local Color
2/8/2007 Local Color
2/1/2007 DreamFarm Cafe's big show
1/25/2007 Built world
1/18/2007 Expressions of character
1/11/2007 Best practices
1/4/2007 Nominate your favorite for Governor's Arts Awards
12/28/2006 Art in 2006 in southern New Hampshire
12/21/2006 Time to learn
12/14/2006 Frisella's new studio; sell art for animals; girls only time
12/07/2006 Stained glass, found objects and ornaments
11/30/2006 No shortage of art sales
11/23/2006 A Granite†State greeting
11/16/2006 Santa Claus hangs with artists
11/9/2006 Visual art meets poetry
11/2/2006 Local Color
10/26/2006 Local Color
10/19/2006 Local Color
10/12/2006 Almost 80 artists in Hollis ...
10/05/2006 Fine art in a field
09/28/2006 Local Color
09/21/2006 Local Color
09/14/2006 Local†color
09/07/2006 Bel†Espirit, a happening of chance
08/31/2006 An artistic endeavor
08/24/2006 The almost-all architecture edition
08/17/2006 Half century of creativity
08/10/2006 Obsession with the Isles of Shoals
08/03/2006 See the precise craft of carving with a chainsaw
07/20/2006 For museums or your living room
07/13/2006 Making their mark
07/06/2006 Sense of place
06/29/2006 New ground
06/22/2006 MAA honors scholars an artists of the year
06/15/2006 Galleries open doors
06/08/2006 It's sticky up here
06/01/2006 Mural for MCAM
05/25/2006 Scenes from the air
05/18/2006 Vanguardians sit down
05/11/2006 Public masterpiece
05/04/2006 Art helps kids at MAA show
04/27/2006 In-house artists on display
04/20/2006 No Pinocchio here
04/13/2006 School's out art's in
04/06/2006 Meet Michael Toomey
03/30/2006 Art builds community ...
03/23/2006 From Celtic design to Ayn†Rand
03/16/2006 Got Cow?
03/09/2006 A creative view of China
03/02/2006 Monastery Arts open new show
02/23/2006 Love and art in one location
02/16/2006 Job loss leads to artistic success
02/09/2006 Art in the key of Adam and Eve
02/02/2006 Art to make you think
01/26/2006 New York†artists to show at Derryfiled School
01/19/2006 A new age of artwork
01/12/2006 Photography buffs unite
01/05/2006 Jeweler teaches her trade
Alison Williams
All together now
A forest through the trees
A light in the dark
An event for artists, by artists
Anne Dufresne
Armand Szainer: never forget
Art group picks artist of the year
Art In The Park
Art in the Park sees attendance dip
Arts In Education Conference
Art like Crayons for grown-ups
Art you can sit on (if you own it)
Better Living Through Artistry
Capturing history with a panaramic view
Ceramic Biennial
Currier Kicks Off 2005 With NHSS Show
Die fotografieren
Doug Mendoza: Body Artist
Enjoying the Open Doors Trolley Tour
East Colony Fine Art has gone jazz
Equal Arts Opportunities
Exploring purgatory and paradise
Expressions coming from within
Fighting cancer with creativity
Free food, free music and plenty of art
Harry Umen: New Work

Head of the class
Heating up the canvas
Inside the artistís studio
Itís art, and itís even practical!
James Aponovich

James Chase
Jan De Bray
Local Artist, Global Message
Lollipops and Hand Grenades
MAA Adds New Dimension To Gallery
MAA Gallery Mixes It Up
Making Book With Children
Manchester Art In 2004
Morgan's "Danse" Comes To Manch
Morin Avoid Typecasting
NHIA chalks it up to May 14
Open Doors Manchester Returns
Open Doors Trolley Tour, The Winter Version
Looking for a crowd? Just add art
McGowan Fine Art Turns 25
Nita Leger Casey
Patti Matthis
Saint Anselm Favorite Returns
Searching for the extraordinary
Small Town Art Hits The Big City
Spirit Of The Holidays Exhibit
Step into the Art Pad at Langer Place
Stride and ride
Tagging goes to wall, gets legit
The art and craft of Glendi
The art of signs to art and stuff
The Art Of The Qashquai

The Return Of The Art Trolley Tour
The Ubiquitous Ann Domingue
Two-continent painting exhibit opens
Using nature as a canvas
Waxwork
Women's Art Group Marks 10th Year
Wyeth Works Return To The Currier