Legacy Of The Great Society : The National Endowment For The Arts

2643 Words Nov 11th, 2014 11 Pages
Rachel Hollis
PPOL 4100
November 10, 2014
Word Count: 2363
Legacy of The Great Society: The National Endowment for the Arts
The “Big Four” policy agendas of President Johnson’s Great Society initiatives tend to garner the most attention: federal aid to elementary and secondary education, Medicare and Medicaid, Immigration Reform, and Civil Rights Act. An often-overlooked policy agenda is the creation of what is now the National Endowment for the Arts (“NEA”). The NEA is often compared to two Works Progress Association (“WPA”) programs, the Federal Arts Project and the Federal Writers Project. Both were intended to create jobs as part of a larger economic stimulus package (Bauerlin and Grantham, p. 1). Although parallels are often drawn between the WPA initiative and the NEA, the latter was never intended to be a jobs creator. The WPA programs produced art as a byproduct of employment; the NEA endeavored to support art for cultural enrichment and the benefit of society. At the onset, this program had overwhelming bipartisan support, but it was not long before both members of Congress and the general public began to question whether government funds should be used for this purpose, or if the government should be funding the NEA at all. This paper takes the position that government funding of the NEA is both necessary and essential.
History of the National Endowment for the Arts Government support for the arts movement gained momentum during the Kennedy…

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