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Bush "Announces" Weird New Arts Initiative

Autonomedia writes: "Careful readers of our site may be interested to see this rather under-reported impressive new initiative on the part of a State long neglectful of "applied" arts. It's always nice to see that the Dubya's able to quote soul-mates like Wyndham Lewis, and to know he has a "first-hand grasp" of problems like cyber-addiction to pornographic violence. (If only his interest in pornographic violence was cyber-exclusive!)

US Department of Art & Technology
Washington, DC

Press Secretary
For Immediate Release: November 6, 2001




I take great joy in making this announcement. It's going to be one of
the most important initiatives that my administration not only
discusses, but implements.

This is a collection of some of the finest America has got to offer
-- artists who create with their hearts, and in turn, have changed
the communities in which they live for the better. This is a great
example of the strength and diversity and compassion of our country.

This is a diverse group, but who share things in common. They provide
more than aesthetic appeal to the people of our country. They touch
and change hearts. And for this, America is deeply appreciative,
particularly in these times of crisis.

Everyone in this room knows firsthand that there are still deep needs
in society that are confronted by America's artists who have brought
technology into their work. Problems like cyber-addiction and
abandonment, pornographic violence, mental illness, loss of identity
through the mediation of reality, and now, the threat of terrorist
activity across the heartland. We are called by conscience to respond.

As I said in my inaugural address, compassion is the work of a
nation, not just a government. It is more than the calling of
politicians; it is the calling of artists. It is artists who turn
mean streets into good neighborhoods. It is artists who turn cold
cities into real communities.

It is one of the great goals of my administration to invigorate the
spirit of involvement and cultural engagement. We will encourage
artist-based community programs without changing their mission. We
will help all in their work to change hearts while keeping a
commitment to freedom of expression.

I approach this goal with some basic principles: Government has
important responsibilities to the social condition and the spiritual
growth of the individual. Yet when we see social needs in America, my
administration will look first to artist-based programs, which have
proven their power to transform lives. When artists provide insight
into the cultural impact of emerging new technologies, we will
support them.

As long as there are cultural needs, artist-based organizations
should be able to compete for funding on an equal basis, and in a
manner that does not cause them to sacrifice their mission. And we
will make sure that help goes to large organizations and to small
ones as well. We value large organizations with generations of
experience. We also value community artists, who have only the scars
of being on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Today I am turning these principles into a legislative agenda. I am
sending to Congress a series of ideas and proposals. Today, in time
of war, I want to raise the priority and profile of these issues
within my own administration. I want to ensure that artists and
artist-based organizations will always have a place at the table in
our deliberations.

In a few moments, I will sign an executive order. This order will
create a new government agency, the United States Department of Art
and Technology. The Secretary of this office will report directly to
me and be charged with important responsibilities. He will oversee
our initiatives on this issue. He will make sure our government,
where it works with the arts, is fair and supportive. And he will
highlight artists who have engaged technology in their work and are
confronting issues critical to our understanding of new technologies
and their cultural implications as national models so others can
learn from them. For as British artist Wyndham Lewis articulated so
well: "The artist is always engaged in writing a detailed history of
the future because he is the only person aware of the nature of the

And now it is my honor to sign the executive order. (Applause.)"