clearly we can't just have the government just randomly handing out money to whosoever should call themselves an artist. at the same time it is evident that there have been many great works of art paid for with government moneys. i feel that the governments involvement should be indirect. that is i feel that we should buy some art for national collections. the smithsonian
for instance is a national treasure that could never be replaced. there should be a limited role with a clear propose in mind.
accurate history keeping is a vital role of the government, for which purpose i believe that historical photographs and artworks should be both bought and commissioned. portraits and photographs of presidents and other leaders should be commissioned. art has a unique ability to capture feeling in a way that can't be done with reports or documents. the government should buy art related to our greatest moments, and our darkest hours. accomplishments like our space program or our foreign aid efforts should be documented with art. national tragedies like the civil war or hurricane katrina should also be documented with art. when these are available on the open market i think we should participate reasonably, and if not we should commission such works.
we would be remiss if we omitted graphic design. our nation's graphic design should be among the best in the country. few businesses should have better quality design. in a big way the art a government keeps and the design of visual materials is the way they are seen by the world. we must be careful that we are a wise stuart of the taxpayer's money.
-grant l. tompkins