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If I ran the NEA...

February 27, 2009 | 12:00 pm

The slogan of the National Endowment for the Arts is “a great nation deserves great art.”

Were it only that simple.

When Congress voted on President Obama’s $787-billion stimulus package, fiscal conservatives slammed the NEA’s $50-million allocation. It wasn’t the first time the agency, whose 2008 budget was about $144 million, had been thrust under the microscope.

Since awarding its first grant in 1965, the NEA most famously riled opponents in the early 1990s with its plan to award grants to a quartet of controversial artists. As the president prepares to name a new NEA chief, we asked people from the arts and other fields to share what their priorities would be if they ran the cultural agency.

Click on the photos in the grid above to see what our contributors had to say. Then let us know what you would do if you ran the NEA.

--Lisa Fung

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