Local arts groups were abuzz yesterday when the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) distributed $325,000 in federal stimulus money to seven North Carolina arts groups. A spokesman for the North Carolina Arts Council said the grants – ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 — will save about 9 full-time jobs, 2 part time jobs and renew contracts for a variety of artists.
Really? I don't think "save" is the right word. Save implies a successful rescue and finality. Those qualities are conspicuously absent from the NEA stimulus money — or any stimulus money for that matter. I think a better word is forestall. The NEA grants merely allow selected local groups the opportunity to delay tough choices about their future –never a good thing. Nothing against the arts but anyone who thinks federal dollars are necessary for the arts to flourish is woefully ignorant of history. Isn't it good to know the Federal government is saving our starving artists from this bad economy? The federal debt is $11.4 trillion and counting. Programs like this explain why.