where the writers are
At The White House

I'm on the road with time for just a quick note to tell you that on May 12th, more than sixty activist artists, community artists, creative organizers and uncategorizable fellow travelers took part in a White House Briefing on Art, Community, Social Justice and National Recovery that I helped to organize. Actually, it was two meetings in one: I'd proposed a meeting of community arts people focused on cultural recovery, and some colleagues had proposed a meeting of artists and organizers focusing on moving the administration's agenda by creative means, and with the White House's encouragement, the two events were combined into one major extravaganza.

You can read a short article in the Washington Post and a more personal account on Facebook from Michael Nolan, who took part. More from me later. For now, here we all are on the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. That's me slightly right of center in a red jacket, sharing a laugh with my friend Dudley Cocke.

For the first time in decades, the meeting opens a conversation between the administration in Washington and artists who are committed to cultural recovery and cultural sustainability. After eight years of Bush, we had to keep pinching ourselves to believe we had entered a moment in which dialogue is actually possible. There's a lot to learn all around, and won't that be fun?


Coming up next: Why is culture the only arena in which total lack of policy expertise is no impediment to being appointed head of a major government agency: Rocco Landesman is named NEA Chair?