Italy is Willing to Stand up for it’s Art…why not the U.S.?
November 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s Prime Minister isn’t having a good year. Amidst a prostitution scandal and a generally unhappy constituency, he has managed to tick off the most passionate of stereotypically passionate Italians-the arts lovers! His recently proposed enormous budget cuts amounting to $398 million to Italian arts organizations has sparked massive controversy and angered many arts supporters and organizations. In protest, "Museums, theaters, parks, libraries, and other tourist sites will close on Friday to protest the country’s cultural-budget meltdown and its devastating effects" on the arts in the country.
Just days after the collapse of the 2,000 year old "House of Gladiators" in Pompeii, many are beginning to wonder how Berlusconi will manage to preserve the rich history and artistic heritage of the country in modern times if he is planning to cut the budget. If he can’t preserve what is already there with the current monies, what effect will less money have on the country? The result of all this pondering? Protests, closing of important tourist attractions, and general distaste for Berlusconi, which the citizens are not hesitant to display.
Why can’t this happen in the U.S.? Besides the fact that government support of the arts in this country is piddly, poor, disgusting, embarrassing (shall I go on Senators and Representatives?), and I’m not even sure that $398 million EXISTS in government support of the arts in this country, why doesn’t this happen here? We should be out there protesting the fact that the arts give time and time again to our government and yet, receive very little support in return. Where is our outrage about this situation? Just because it has "always been this way" doesn’t mean that it has to stay that way. How much revenue would the U.S. government and surrounding businesses lose if EVERY arts institution in this country shut down for one day? Of course, this would never happen in the U.S. because many are too afraid to do something big in order to make a statement (and arts organizations would lose cash they are already strapped for), but what if it DID? What kind of statement would that send to our government? Perhaps that we are here to stay, are a force to be reckoned with, and are an important part of this country. I vote for a National Arts Blackout day on January 27. Mozart would approve. Who’s with me?