This is what I said back then:
The most easily accessible connection to current culture is television and computers. Where are the TV shows about visual art; how about an American Idol-type Visual Artist show?? The scouts could find the next art star who is not an elephant, a "savant" or a child.
You know things are bad when we can rarely find shows about art on public TV! Oh sure you can still find shows with the guy who completes a painting during a one-hour show and a great show called Art21 that features internationally known artists and more than on commercial TV, no doubt. Locally, ArtBeat features the arts in some segments during that daily "Chicago Tonight". There are wonderful travel shows that include the art of the region and do a nice job of explaining ancient treasures.
I have never seen a TV award shows featuring visual artists, have you? We get the Grammys, and The Country Music Awards. We have been hearing about the The Golden Globes, and the Oscars as the producers gear up the the awards season. The various Emmy awards programs honor day and primetime TV.
What about fine arts? Do we get dissed because we don't have unions?
Art publications, the few we have, are mostly national and only fleetingly acknowledge local artists...thank goodness Olga Stephen and the CAC got "Prompt" published. Otherwise there is not much. Art critics are a disappearing breed, but sports writers abound!
Even the print version of The Chicago Reader, a free paper that we could count on for art has an "Arts and Entertainment" section that excludes visual art. Those listings are found in "Galleries and Museums".
Oh, yeah, everybody knows P-Diddy. Everybody knows Paris. And that's great, and a part of our contemporary culture. I am surprised by how many people have NOT heard of Kerry James Marshall, Preston Jackson, Faith Ringgold, and others.
If we want people to develop a need for art, a need to visit art institutions, to care about what artists think, the way folks care about Will Smith, Angelina Joli and Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Oprah (who I wish would switch from promoting only authors to including us righteous artists), we have to find a way for people to know about art and realize we are pretty interesting, too. Even more than that, we are reflections of them! They can know themselves better by knowing us!
AND, that's why we need schools to teach art to all students from preschool through 12th grade! If you talk to President-elect Obama's new education guy, Arnie Duncan, please let him know that we are ready and willing to teach! Let's resolve to honor our culture, better educate our students and build artists bank accounts.
"American Landscape" detail, Joyce Owens 2010