Which candidates will support the arts? New Hampshire Citizens for the Arts set out to find the answer.

Eight candidates are hotly contesting the New Hampshire Democratic Primary, and NH Citizens for the Arts (NHCFA), a nonpartisan membership organization, asked each candidate for an arts policy paper.

NHCFA discovered that only three candidates had prepared statements on the arts. John Kerry and Dick Gephardt had taken the trouble to write an arts policy early on, and Wes Clark released one, after an NHCFA volunteer called his Arkansas headquarters.

The three Presidential candidates’ position papers are included, in their entirety, below.

The campaigns of Howard Dean, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman, although called several times, have not provided statements, nor do these candidates’ websites contain arts issue statements.

Kucinich’s website (www.kucinich.us/issues) has a section on the arts, containing the Congressman’s statements about his activities along with an endorsement from composer David Gaines, who praises Kucinich’s support of the arts. See statement below.

Sharpton has no NH campaign office, no arts policy statement appears on Sharpton’s website, and his New York headquarters has not returned calls.

NH Citizens for the Arts members have also asked candidates direct questions at public forums. Responding to NHCFA volunteers’ questions, Dean, Kerry, and Kucinich pledged publicly to support the National Endowment for the Arts budget and to support the arts.

Citizens will continue to make inquiries and will post new information and answers on the NHCFA website.

New Hampshire Citizens for the Arts is a nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization that educates the public about and advocates for the arts. NHCFA does not endorse any candidate or imply endorsement of any candidate. NHCFA provides information on the Presidential candidates’ arts policies so that NH voters can better compare the candidates and consider arts issues as they prepare to vote in the NH Primary on January 27. NHCFA welcomes additional information, which may be sent to the NHCFA Board of Directors via the Advocacy Committee Chair at NHCitizensArts@aol.com.

NHCFA will also prepare a report for the November Presidential election, comparing the Republican and Democratic nominees’ records and statements on the arts.

Volunteers, not paid staff, prepare the NHCFA reports. The volunteers have made their best effort to be accurate, unbiased, and objective. NHCFA does not claim these reports to be comprehensive.


Provided by NH Citizens for the Arts

NH Citizens for the Arts is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse any candidate.

Statements from the campaigns of Dick Gephardt, John Kerry, and Wes Clark, in alphabetical order, are printed verbatim and in their entirety below.

General Wesley Clark (Ret.)


Paid for by Clark for President, Inc.

“Wes Clark’s Commitment to the Arts and Arts Education”

We measure civilizations by their achievements in the arts: long after leaders have passed on and wars are the business of historians, it is works of art and the products of advanced thought that remain. We look to the writers, composers and artists, especially Americans, of the past to provide us with ballast to the uncertainties of our own times. That’s why I believe we need to return the Arts to the national debate. The fiscal crisis facing many states has caused substantial cuts in funding for arts and arts education. The Federal government role in nurturing the arts is more important than ever.

The viability of cities can be measured by the success of their arts institutions. Theaters, museums, and galleries are, increasingly, playing an important role in community development. They create measurable economic growth, often revitalizing metropolitan areas and re-opening vacant store-fronts and restaurants in neighborhoods, as an eager public seeks out performances and exhibitions.

We all enjoy the diversions of corporate culture: movies, popular music and television give us a valuable common language. But there are other forms of expression that have as their goal to elevate thought and hold up a mirror to human nature. This kind of culture is as valuable and important. I think the government ought to support it with increased commitment. These kinds of arts are being lost to us, and that is because is (sic) economic times such as these, it is arts programs that are being cut in schools. Ironically, many studies have shown that arts in schools improve reading and mathematics ability, foster self-expression and individual thought, and improve socializing among children. I think we need to make a special effort to return the arts to the schools, to insure that the next generations of Americans will learn about the riches of the past while being able to fully discover their own particular talents. Who knows how such education in children might enrich the rest of society?

We also need to increase funding to arts institutions and to support valuable work in the arts and humanities. The National Endowments were created in the 1960s, a time when the Federal government was dedicated to large-scale efforts to make this sort of improvements in the lives of its citizens. Unfortunately, during subsequent decades, this high-minded mission has been dissipated, as the discussions of what constitutes art have become divisive arguments. I think we need to try to reassert the Federal government’s role in leading the nation to a broader exposure to the value of the arts in our society–that is the best source I can think of to foster mutual understanding, and the best way for us to grow as a nation of such diverse peoples.

Senator John Edwards

Congressman Dick Gephardt


Paid for by Gephardt for President, Inc.

“A Dedication to The Arts”

Dick Gephardt believes the arts are an integral part of our Nation’s heritage. Through arts education, millions of our children enter a world where they discover music, drama, dance, as well as the visual arts. The arts are not only important for cultural enrichment, but as an economic engine. The arts contribute $134 billion a year to our economy, and in Gephardt’s hometown of St. Louis, the arts contribute almost $500 million to the local economy and are a source of employment for thousands of people. As president, Gephardt will end the assault on funding the arts seen in recent years.

In 2002, on the House floor, Gephardt fought for an increase in arts funding in the Interior Appropriations bill, saying, “the arts are not only important for cultural enrichment in the education of our children. From coast to coast, the arts are economic engines in our Nation’s communities. The arts contribute $134 billion a year to our economy.” [Gephardt House floor statement, 7/16/02]

Gephardt has championed legislation to enhance the ability of artists to donate their works to the public domain. Gephardt has sponsored legislation to allow artists to receive a fair price for their donated work, rather than the current law restriction that only allows them to value their work at the cost of the materials. [HR 7391, 96th Congress]

“I fought Newt Gingrich and the Republicans in the Congress to keep arts funding alive. We won. When I’m president, we’ll do even better.” – Dick Gephardt, 6/13/03

Gephardt fought Newt Gingrich’s first budget under a Republican Congress, which would have phased out and eliminated all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. [Washington Post, 6/30/95, and House vote #345 on 5/18/95 ]

Gephardt has consistently supported arts education and fought to include the arts as one of the core subjects taught in our nation’s schools. He has also supported efforts to extend arts education to at risk youth. [House vote #496, 10/13/93; and House vote # 95, 3/24/94]

Senator John Kerry


Paid for by John Kerry for President, Inc.


National Endowment for the Arts: John Kerry believes that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is essential to the arts infrastructure in America because it supports the creation, preservation, and presentation of the arts in this country. Kerry fought against deep cuts to the NEA budget in the mid-1990’s and has consistently supported efforts to restore its funding. Kerry understands the valuable role the federal government plays in promoting the arts and that a federal commitment is important to leveraging private funding.

National Endowment for the Humanities: John Kerry has been a strong supporter of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the largest single-funder of humanities programs in the United States. He has opposed efforts to slash funding for the NEH, and he has consistently fought to increase Americans access to cultural and educational resources and provide opportunities for lifelong learning in the humanities.

Fair-Market Deduction for Artists: John Kerry has been a strong supporter of legislation allowing artists, writers, and composers to take a fair-market value deduction for their works donated to a museum, library, or archive. In 1969 Congress repealed legislation allowing artists to take such a deduction, resulting in a decline in artist donations to nonprofit cultural institutions. Without this deduction, great works of art are more frequently sold into private collections making public appreciation and knowledge harder.

Support for Nonprofit Arts Organizations: Enlightened tax policy has been fundamental to the sustained vitality of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. John Kerry supported making permanent the full tax deduction for gifts of appreciated stock to foundations. People give more if they can deduct their contributions, which is why Kerry has supported an initiative to expand the deduction for charitable gifts to all taxpayers and to enable individuals to roll over IRAs to charities without penalties.

Arts in Education: John Kerry supports including the arts as a core academic subject in elementary and secondary public education. Kerry supports the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program, which provides funding for the development of arts education programs throughout the country and professional development support for arts educators. Though the Bush Administration has proposed to zero-out funding the Arts in Education program, Kerry has supported the funding and will continue to.

Supporting Arts and Humanities in Massachusetts: John Kerry has worked to secure millions of dollars in federal funds for arts and cultural institutions in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, because he understands that public support for arts and culture stimulates public programs and leverages private dollars. Institutions that Kerry has secured funding for include: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Peabody Essex Museum, Gardner Museum, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Old Sturbridge Village, the John Adams Collection at the Boston Public Library, Boston Museum of Science. Combined audience attendance at Massachusetts’s cultural organizations exceeded 45 million, about eight times the state’s total population.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich

(Statement from Congressman Kucinich’s website www.kucinich.us/issues)

I am proudly running for President as a strongly committed supporter of the arts, both in Congress and in my personal life. I believe there is a positive role that the federal government can play in promoting arts and culture in our communities. The United States spends only a very small percentage (less than 1/10th of one percent) of its total federal budget on arts and culture, less than is spent by most industrialized nations of the world. As I have demonstrated in my pledge to the American Arts Alliance, this is something that will significantly change under a Kucinich administration.

I am a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus, and I have a solid voting record of support for the National Endowment for the Arts. I am a co-sponsor of bills authorizing the establishment of the National Museum of African-American History and the National Museum of Women’s History Advisory Committee. In my home state of Ohio, I continue to encourage high school students in my district to participate in the Artistic Discovery Contest (the annual Congressional High School Art Competition) each year.

And let me not forget to mention: I am the only candidate to have highlighted some of the ethnic popular music of America on my Congressional website, where there is an important page devoted to polka!

Reverend Al Sharpton

Sharpton has no NH campaign office, no arts policy statement appears on Sharpton’s website, and his New York headquarters has not returned calls.