To comprehend the vast plethora of art in this diverse country, and to fully grasp the collective creative temperament of the times, it is helpful to understand how the very infrastructure of this nation regards, reacts to, and supports its artists and their work. Take a browse through this LibGuide to see art, as it is defined, appreciated and used by the United States Government.
“Sec.2 The Congress hereby finds and declares…(5) that while no government can call a great artist or scholar into existence, it is necessary and appropriate for the federal government to help create and sustain not only a climate encouraging freedom of thought, imagination, and inquiry but also the material conditions facilitating the release of this creative talent; (6) that the world leadership which has come to the United States cannot rest solely on superior power, wealth, and technology, but must be solidly founded upon worldwide respect and admiration for the Nation’s high qualities as a leader in the realm of ideas and of the spirit; (7) that, in order to implement these findings, it is desirable to establish a National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities.”
“Art knows no national boundaries. Genius can speak in any tongue and the entire world will hear it and listen.”
– John F. Kennedy, remarks on behalf of National Cultural Center, Washington, DC, November 29, 1962
“We take pride in the power of imagination that animates and sustains our democracy. We are, and always will be, a nation of creators and innovators. This small agency (The National Endowment for the Arts) fosters the creativity that has made democracy the call heard around the world. May it long continue to preserve such creativity and freedom.”
– Bill Clinton
“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”
– Lyndon Johnson, on signing into existence the National Endowment on the Arts
Thanks to Lauren Lovings-Gomez, Kelley Center Student Staff, PhD student of 19th-Century European and American Art at Rice University, who has created this LibGuide, under the supervision of Government Information Coordinator Anna Xiong.