Think Culture is Expensive? Try Ignorance.

The National Endowment for the Arts has a new director and a new slogan—forget “A Great Nation Deserves Great Art”. Late last week Broadway producer Rocco Landesman was confirmed by Congress as the new head of the NEA. Landesman is being quite open about the changes he envisions: besides the new slogan reminding people that artists are gainfully employed just as mill workers are, and that the arts help to improve the economy by enlivening urban areas, Landesman himself will work to increase the NEA budget. He is calling the current arts budget “invisible” and “embarrassing”. Quite.

The United Kingdom has one fifth the population of the United States, but its public arts budget is massive by comparison. For the upcoming year, the U.K.’s NEA, called the Arts Council, will doll out nearly £350 million plus a £40 million stimulus boost totaling £390, or $643 million. The NEA budget for 2009 is $161 million (peep).


The NEA budget was cut nearly in half in 1996 when its ability to sponsor individual artists was revoked by Congress. The funding cut was a result of controversy caused by artists like Robert Young and Andres Serrano (remember the Piss Christ?) who tested the limits of artistic sexual expression with NEA funding. The NEA remains prohibited from funding individual artists.

While funding for the arts is “inefficient” in that it doesn’t necessarily produce a readily consumable good, I remember seeing some graffiti in France that read, “Think culture is expensive? Try ignorance”.

A publicly funded arts model seems to be working comparatively well in England. The British Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC, while not being directly underwritten by the government is funded by a television licensing fee (yes, a tax). If you own a TV, you pay the fee. One result is user-friendly content. So until the U.S. sees the light on this one, take advantage of these tools for artists of all media compliments of the BBC.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Steven Pinker's 13 rules for writing better

The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Steven Pinker speaks onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on July 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Media)
Personal Growth
  • Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
  • When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
  • Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less