Music Critic Mark Swed Makes the Case in the LA Times
Swed begins his argument on comparative ground and names the established Western Countries and other developing countries that have ministries of culture. Though we have the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities it is a worthy point that art has no real seat at the table; there is no Cabinate-level agency for culture.
Art is always a difficult if not tricky business, but Swed continues to support his call well. The Art industry, often runs trim in good times and positions are stable. There can be no outsourcing of art jobs. More importantly though is the fact that art can unify people. Art can challenge, it can call out for change, it can humanize those on the margins, and above all art speaks to a people and a time. In this time of harsh division it is only our identity as Americans unites us, and regardless of political party culture is what "makes everything else matter. . . The arts and the humanities help us figure out who we are" individually and collectively (Swed).
Swed aptly calls the arts a political football kicked around by both parties- slashed, ignored, championed, or tabled in political cycles and debates, we are left wondering if indeed it would be beneficial to have a secretary of Culture. While Swed cuts at his own argument a bit admitting that "[he knows] there aren't regular Cabinet meetings anymore where all the secretaries gather around a big table and hash out all the issues of the country." He does leave us wondering at "a perfect White House, where Cabinet officials did often collect, and among them sat a political outsider, a generalist who could offer rich historical insight from the humanities and visionary thinking from the arts."
Full story with suggested nominees in the LA Times