By Janet Brown, from her blog Better Together
In 1980, when I was living in New York City, I had a conversation with a man who at one time was general manager of Lincoln Center. We debated, rather heatedly, his premise that the National Endowment for the Arts should give money only to states that produce “good” art — in other words, New York. (He wasn’t sure other states should get any funding at all.) He believed the federal government should give funds to South Dakota, my home state, for what it does well — grow corn and beef. He believed the government should fund only what someone would decide was “good” art, and obviously, no “good” art came out of South Dakota. I was offended by that, and I can pinpoint that day as the beginning of my somewhat outspoken beliefs that all art has an element of excellence as long as it is authentic to a people and place. I delight in the fact that there are no rules of geography and environment in art making.