Government Support for the Arts
Although George Washington believed that “excellence” in the arts required “public encouragements,” federal support for the arts remained unrealized until the twentieth century. During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt established arts projects to employ artists, writers, actors, and even vaudeville performers to entertain the public. In 1958, President Eisenhower signed legislation establishing the National Cultural Center and an advisory committee on the arts, initiatives that eventually resulted in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. After President Kennedy invited arts luminaries to his inauguration gala to foster an atmosphere of “collaboration between government and the arts,” the artistic community responded enthusiastically.
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