Obama promotes arts, culture

Barack Obama picked up the endorsement of New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources Commissioner Van McLeod today. In a statement released by the campaign, McLeod said, “Obama’s platform will provide the kind of support for the arts that the Bush administration has neglected. But more than that, it reflects some of the core values that attracted me to his candidacy: restoring our global leadership, giving our children every opportunity to succeed in today’s economy, advancing economic fairness, and ensuring healthcare coverage for every American.”

Before becoming commissioner, McLeod was producing director for the North Country Center for the Arts in Lincoln, founder and producer of First Night New Hampshire in Concord, and the producing director of the Kearsarge Theatre Company in Warner.

Obama released the endorsement on the same day that he rolled out his plan for arts and culture. Highlights of that platform include expanding public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations by increasing money for federal arts grants, and creating an artists corps of young artists trained to work in low-income schools.

Obama says he would support increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, although he did not specify an amount. He would promote cultural and arts exchanges around the world, try to attract foreign artists to the U.S., and allow artists to deduct the fair market value of their work from their taxes when they make a charitable contribution. There is no price tag attached to the plan.

- Shira Schoenberg