Public art for the public
TERE used to be two federal programs dedicated to funding public art. Now there is one. This isn’t an accidentba bureaucratic trick of fate or yet another example of congressional budgetary perfidy. It is easy to imagine circumstances in which we would still have both, or in which both would have vanished. In fact, for a long time both programs were on the same road to self-destruction: funding projects that many members of the general public found incomprehensible at best and offensive at worst. The story of how one program adapted while the other disappeared is instructive for anyone concerned with how government can and should support artists.