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Jane Alexander

August 19, 1993

* While I find it commendable that President Clinton has nominated actress Jane Alexander to head the National Endowment for the Arts (Aug. 8), I find it a little hard to believe that this appointment was made as little more than an appeasement to the artistic community. The belief that a representative from the entertainment industry will have any more power to change the attitude of the general public toward the arts is about as ridiculous as believing that electing a President will change the general public's views about gays in the military.

As a fine art photographer, I am of the opinion that the NEA should be eliminated. Even though the amount of money paid by the taxpayer is extremely small--I believe the figure is 68 cents per taxpayer--this gives the public 68 cents worth of an opinion on how its money should be spent.

The government has no business in the art world. If we, as artists, are truly committed to the ideals of freedom of speech and expression, then we should become an independent, self-serving group dedicated to the promotion of these ideals. Percentages from sales, donation, fund-raisers or whatever it takes to generate money could go into a pool and be administered by artists for artists. Grants provided by this group would be based expressly on artistic merit or need and not on whether or not the taxpaying public finds the subject matter inoffensive or uncontroversial.

I certainly do not want an agency that believes 68 cents is enough to fund artistic education and expression to determine what is or isn't art.

GILBERT FRAZEE

Upland

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