The Washington Post reports:
The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities has added sweeping language to already approved grants requiring artists and arts organizations to avoid producing work that could be considered lewd, vulgar or political.
In a rare step made after millions of dollars in public funding was approved last month, the local arts commision said it would terminate any grant supporting work that the commission deemed “lewd, lascivious, vulgar, overtly political, or excessively violent, constitutes sexual harassment, or is, in any other way, illegal.”
Arts leaders who were asked to sign the contract amendment expressed shock at the request, which several described as an attack on their artistic freedom.
Last week, Trump nominated interim NEA chair Mary Anne Carter as the organization’s permanent head. Carter is a conservative political consultant and former chief policy advisor to Florida Governor Rick Scott.
She has virtually no background in the arts and has focused her interim efforts at the NEA toward expanding its Creative Forces program, an art therapy service for US veterans recovering from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
Only a few days elapsed between Carter’s appointment and the DCCAH’s revised contract rollout. The short time window between these two events invites the question of whether or not the Commission is preemptively trying to shield itself from the conservative scruples of the NEA’s chairwoman.
Carter was the founder of a public affairs and political consulting firm, and was chief policy adviser to Florida Governor Rick Scott, who is seeking a Senate seat. According to her bio, her commitment to the arts stems from her daughter who has faced dyslexia but has found arts as a valuable method of learning. Carter’s appointment to a four-year term must be confirmed by the Senate.
Who gets to decide what is considered lewd, lascivious or vulgar? What is considered “overtly political” or “excessively violent?” The new clause clearly violates viewpoint neutrality + chills artistic freedom. More information here:https://t.co/AkmFq8ggU2 #art #artists
— NCAC (@ncacensorship) November 8, 2018