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THE FUTURE OF THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

Last November, the Democratic National Committee asked New York gallerist Ronald Feldman to submit documents to the transition team of President-Elect Bill Clinton in support of the National Endowment for the Arts. To write the proposal Feldman enlisted Maurice Berger, a frequent contributor to Artforum. The proposal, which we are happy to publish below, was sent to the president-elect in early December with supporting signatures representing a broad spectrum of the nation’s cultural communities.
The Editors

OVER THE PAST 12 years, our country has faced a serious crisis as a powerful minority of religious and political activists has attempted to stifle cultural freedom. For artists and other cultural figures, no form of interference has been more dramatic than the destructive limitations imposed on the National Endowment for the Arts since 1981. During the past decade, the NEA, an organization established to further the availability and excellence of the arts in the United States, has been under attack, its programs and awards subject to arbitrary acts of censorship and repression. The Endowment’s own history—a political legacy of difficult birth in the 1960s, extraordinary bipartisan support under the Johnson, Nixon, and Carter administrations, and near destruction in recent years—suggests the important, even heroic role of government funding of the arts. We need only be reminded of the

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