Saturday, December 17, 2016

Rumor: Trump Favors Sylvester Stallone for NEA Chair

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on.........................."


Two developments that might impact the field:

First, the bad news: Trump's pick for his budget director is a slash and cut guy who favors deep cuts to balance the budget.  See article here.  By itself, this might indicate that arts funding could be in trouble, as it would likely be one of those items the new budget director would have on his list to get the axe.

Second, news broke in the last two days indicating that Trump will offer the Chairmanship of the NEA to Sylvester Stallone, and that Stallone would take the offer.  Though denied as a "done deal" by the Trump Transition team, what gives this report some credibility is that it was reported not only by Fox News and others, but by the Breibart site (the "news" site of Trump's senior White House advisor).

Irrespective of what you may think of Mr. Stallone, or his credentials, this appointment, if it happens, might very well be a positive development for the arts.  First, Stallone is an actor and painter, and aside from any detractor's negative assessments of his talent or skill at each, I think it clear he would bring a sensibility to the post as someone who both values the arts on a personal basis, and sees their value and relevance to society at large.  Plus, he has had great success and enjoys enormous contacts within the entertainment industry, and that experience might be useful as the arts have tried for years to build bridges between the ecosystems.  And like former NEA Chair, Rocco Landesman, who did not have a nonprofit arts background, but came from Broadway, and who did, in my estimation, an excellent job, I believe Mr. Stallone might well be an inspired choice.  And he just may have the ability to eventually increase federal funding for the arts, and more importantly, raise public awareness and valuation.

Moreover, with his professional and public cachet, and as Trump's friend, and having Trump's backing, his appointment would go a long way to protect the agency from those in Congress and the conservative right who would like to see it eliminated or at least severely cut back.

For those reasons, I could easily see supporting this choice.

Have a good week.

Don't Quit