The Artist Life

Where Hillary and Trump Stand on the Arts

Where Hillary and Trump Stand on the Arts

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The Presidential Election the Arts

The 2016 presidential election is just around the corner and it is a big decision for all Americans. Each of us, I know, evaluates the candidates with a different measuring stick. We want to know we cast our ballots for someone we can trust and whom has our best interests at heart.

One area that has not gotten a lot of attention—but something that matters deeply to artists—is where the candidates stand on the arts. Here you will find a rundown of where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on the fine arts, from their official stances on national endowments, what their own art collections are made of, comments they’ve made about the arts, and other notable points of interest that you might want to know about before you head into the voting booth.

*For more on the art of the election, see Art of the 2016 Election: Hillary Trump on Artist Daily.

**Don’t forget to vote, Americans, on November 8th. Polls open at 6am and if you are in line by 9pm, you will be allowed to cast your vote.

Hillary Clinton on the Arts

Artists are pioneers. When asked how she would advance the arts as president, Clinton replied: “The arts are a major reason for urban revitalization,” Clinton told a questioner who asked how she would advance the arts as president. “You see it in cities where often times the modern pioneers are the artists.” (April 8, 2016)

Cap to Non-Profit Donations. In August of 2015, Clinton announced a plan to cap itemized charitable deductions. Such a policy would affect non-profit arts organizations that rely heavily on private donations to fund programs.

Supports the NEA. “I support arts education; I support the National Endowment for the Arts. I was one of the leaders during the Clinton administration in trying to keep it alive when Newt Gingrich and others wanted to kill it because I really think that arts education is important on the merits. I was exposed to arts education in a public school system when I was coming up, and I’m no great artist, I think that’s probably well known to people, but it really gave me information and access to thinking about things differently than I would have, so I’m a strong supporter of the arts.”

Voted for No Child Left Behind. In 2001, Clinton voted and supported the No Child Left Behind legislation, though she believes that No Child Left Behind made it difficult for the inclusion of arts education.

Art in the classroom. In 1998, Hillary commented, That’s why it is not only something that is the right thing to do—supporting arts education—but it’s the smart thing for our nation, for both the public sector and the private sector to support arts education. Because we are by doing so, doing one of the things that we know will pay off the most in making children better able to learn.

Art can be a tool for change. Quoted in Vanity Fair: “In my line of work, we often talk about the art of diplomacy as we try to make people’s lives a little better around the world. But, in fact, art is also a tool of diplomacy. It reaches beyond governments, past the conference rooms and presidential palaces, to help us connect with more people in more places. It is a universal language in our search for common ground, an expression of our shared humanity.”

The arts need partnerships. In 1997, Clinton made these remarks at a Creative America presentation: “The arts and humanities depend on partnerships between government agencies, private foundations, corporations, non-profit organizations and individual benefactors to nurture talent and bring the creative achievements of our best artists and artisans to as wide an audience as possible.

Donald Trump on the Arts

Children should have a well-rounded education. Interview with The Washington Post published this from Trump on this topic: “Critical thinking skills, the ability to read, write and do basic math are still the keys to economic success. A holistic education that includes literature and the arts is just as critical to creating good citizens.”

States, not the Department of Education, should allot education funding. Interview with The Washington Post published this from Trump on this topic: “The states are best able to determine how education dollars are spent. The federal government needs to get out of the education business and let the states, local districts and parents determine what is taught in our schools.”

Congress determines how NEA is funded. Trump was asked about funding for the National Endowment for the Arts by The Washington Post, and responded: “The Congress, as representatives of the people, make the determination as to what the spending priorities ought to be.”

Notable Facts about Hillary and the Arts

Hillary Rodham‘s first date with Bill Clinton was to see a Mark Rothko exhibit at the Yale Art Gallery in 1971.

In 1999, Clinton won an Americans for the Arts National Arts Award for Arts Advocacy for her support for the NEA and NEH among other projects.

As First Lady, Clinton created the White House Sculpture Garden, a public art collection, and hosted many artists including Ellsworth Kelly and George Segal.

Hillary Clinton’s official White House portrait was painted by Simmie Knox.

According to artist Carole Feurerman, Hillary and Bill Clinton own two of her hyperrealistic sculptures. Read the article.

On September 12, 2016, Larry Gagosian hosted “Art for Hillary Auction 2016” at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea to raise money for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Artists who donated works to the show, according to sources, include Jeff Koons, Sarah Sze, Chuck Close, Barbara Kruger, Elisabeth Kley, Joyce Pensato, Deborah Kass, and Ryan and Trevor Oakes. Read the article.

For more information, see the full arts rundown on the candidate from the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and visit the candidate’s website.

Notable Facts about Trump and the Arts

Trump has personally given at least $465,125 to arts-affiliated organizations in New York between 1994 and 2010.

In 2007, Trump is purported to have spent $20,000 from his charity foundation to buy a life-size portrait of himself during a fundraiser auction at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida. Read the article.

In the 1980s, Andy Warhol did a series of silkscreens of Trump Tower for Donald and then-wife Ivana. He did these on speculation but was never paid for the works because, according to his journals, the couple spurned the works for not matching the lobby décor. Read the article.

During the construction of Trump Tower, the Metropolitan Museum of Art requested to salvage the Art Deco bas reliefs of the original site, the Bonwit Teller department store, but this measure was not taken. Trump says these could not have been removed safely at the time and that his consultants told him they didn’t merit saving. Read the article.

French Impressionist artworks grace many of Trumps real estate holdings. Many are believed to be reproductions, not originals. Read the article.

“When it comes to investing, he prefers higher-return investments,” said one longtime Trump friend. “Trump can appreciate great art, but he finds the New York arts crowd elitist and phony. He prefers real estate.” Read the article.

In the March 1990 issue of Playboy, Donald Trump is quoted: “I do what I do out of pure enjoyment. Hopefully, nobody does it better. There’s a beauty to making a great deal. It’s my canvas. And I like painting it.”

For more information, see the full arts rundown on the candidate from the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and visit the candidate’s website.

Watch the video: Highlights from the second presidential debate: Trump fights dirty against Clinton (August 2022).