Blog / 2021 / #ArtsWorkersUnite #ArtsHero Letter to the Biden-Harris Administration

January 15, 2021

This letter is part of the Be An #ArtsHero “Dear Mr. President” campaign. I hope you’ll write a letter too!

Dear Mr. President and Ms.* Vice President,

It exits your nose and mouth, forming a kind of cloud around you, and the people next to you end up sharing your breath, just as you share theirs.

This simple act of imagining respiration is beyond many Americans today. The proof? They refuse to wear masks when there’s a pandemic of an airborne virus that spreads asymptomatically. The fix? Arts funding.

When you do everything you can to ensure that American artists earn a living wage, you are actually funding solutions for the crises of COVID, global warming, and many other issues, because art nurtures the single most underdeveloped natural resource in the US of A: imagination.

With a better imagination, it would be easier to picture the earth’s oceans free of trash vortices, easier to choose products with less packaging, and easier to put pressure on corporations to stop killing our planet.

With a better imagination, women, nonbinary folx, and men would be less likely to let the unimaginative among us dictate the terms, and everyone would be able to conceive of a world in which erectile dysfunction pills aren’t the Pentagon of health funding—or indeed where the Pentagon isn’t the Pentagon of funding!

With a better imagination, we wouldn’t have to have personal experience with racism, ableism, homophobia, or fatphobia in order to admit that these problems exist. We’d know how to care for each other.

Art nurtures imagination. When you fund art, you send a clear message to those who work tirelessly to squash imagination’s power that you value the ability to see what isn’t right in front of you.

Fund the best future we can imagine! Fund art.

* I call Kamala Harris “Ms. Vice President” because “madam” is the equivalent of “sir,” not “Mr.” And, while I’m not interested in dying on this hill, I will tell you that when you call Harris “madam,” you sound like a GOP congressman referring to a woman colleague as “the gentlelady from (a given state)” instead of “the gentlewoman.”

making of Black Panther fan art

The Be An #ArtsHero people say that their next campaign involves visual artists, so, if writing isn’t your thing, there still might be a way for you to participate. Check out their site.

In the meantime, if you want to help out visually, might I recommend making some Lifesavers Fan Art? The Black Panther piece shown here happens to be one of my masked up fan art pieces, but it’s the other artists who are really making the campaign!

mixed media Black Panther fan art of T’Challa and Shuri wearing face coverings because of the pandemic
Gwenn Seemel
It’s Like Riding a Hover-bike
2020
acrylic, colored pencil, and marker on paper
8 x 8 inches

The original T’Challa and Shuri painting is for sale for $150 plus shipping—see all currently available artworks. And, of course, as with all of the Lifesavers Fan Art, please use this image as you like!


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