The United States is one of the few modern societies that, from the top, generally ignores most of its internal cultural development, and ruthlessly politicizes the rest. We haven’t been verging on cultural wasteland-edness for generations on accident—it’s imprinted on our national character, whether we like it or not.
So—NEA grants and public art be damned. Why be part of a system that doesn’t like you and will never understand you?
In contrast, grassroots self-organization has transformed every other people-powered entity aiming to maturate outside the government’s grip. Why can’t it do the same for cultural self-determination?
So I give to you the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture. Don’t let the official-sounding name fool you; this is a “citizen-powered initiative” that wants nothing to do with the established hierarchy—beyond a bit of good-natured irony. Their mission is described as cultivating “the public interest in art and culture, and [to] catalyze art and culture in the public interest.” Every artist, writer, and lover of cultural growth should consider joining (if for no other reason, then because Glenn Beck thinks it’s a real government agency, and is a fresh and convincing argument for home-schooling).