The Misfits… The Dreamers… The Budget…

The actors & actresses. The singers and song writers. The painters & poets. The writers and authors. The graphic artists, disc jockeys, classical musicians, dancers, composers, and architects!

La La Land was not only a love letter to Hollywood, but was also a look into what makes creative people tick. The drive that makes someone pursue a dream that doesn’t make sense on paper, one that has little chance of success.

Believe me, the amount of singers and songwriters in Nashville that actually “make it” is small, really small. I am not talking about someone you hear on the radio, that percentage is beyond minuscule. I am referring to the working/studio musician or songwriter who just gets enough gigs/studio work or writes enough songs to just make a middle class living. Maybe 3% out of the thousands of people that come to Nashville each year make it to that level. And I think that number is high.

Are they crazy? They don’t play the odds, they play for broke. I believe it’s in the DNA. I think you are born a little different. I think you march to a different drummer, you see the world different, you feel more. I have worked with many artists, and they don’t have a plan B.

I can’t really explain it to you, the thing that makes these people tick, it’s too complex. That thing that moves, shapes and drives an artist, many call it The Muse. I have been lucky enough to spend several long conversations with Radney Foster, about the business, about inspiration, about music. On his latest album, he took this artistic drive and put it to words. It’s the closest I have ever heard someone succeed in trying to explain it…

Every time you leave me, I swear I’m moving on… Get myself a real job and a lover won’t do me wrong… Then you’ll slip in with a melody and a wink just for effect… Nah, you don’t really give a damn whose heart you wreck

The dreamers & the misfits risk everything. They lay it on the line for what? What makes what they do so important?

This is my belief… Inspiration lifts people. Art in all forms can inform, educate and motivate people. People can aspire to be better, do better, live better just by hearing a song or reading a book. Seeing a play, or a work of art that changes their way of thinking! I have seen it in my life and others.

Is America really America without John Wayne, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan? Do the films Lincoln, Saving Private Ryan and 12 Years A Slave not educate and inspire us for something better? Have you seen Hamilton, or even just listened to the album??? All of it is part of what makes us, us.

So John, what’s your point? Why the long winded diatribe about creative people… Yes, I am going there…  The Trump Budget. (I buried the lead)

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) represent .002 percent of federal discretionary spending. Out of every dollar that’s spent, they get two tenths of a penny! So every 5 dollars of my tax dollars, these organizations get a penny.

Without the NEA or the NEH we wouldn’t have had The Color Purple, Sesame Street or The King Tut Exhibit. We wouldn’t have plays like Driving Miss Daisy, A Chorus Line, Into The Woods, Angels in America, Fences, War Horse and Annie! No Vietnam Veterans Memorial, yes the design project was a NEA supported competition. No Confederacy of Dunces which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981! Independent films like Boy’s Don’t Cry, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash wouldn’t have been made. And we wouldn’t have had Quentin Tarantino without the NEA’s support through the Sundance Institute that gave him a grant for Reservoir Dogs, his first movie. (Thank you USA Today for this info)

And if you feel that everything I listed above isn’t important, then look at these budgets as an investment in the U-S of A!

From Fortune magazine…

The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released a report that attempts to put a dollar amount on the arts economy and its impact. They found that arts and cultural production contributed more than $704 billion to the U.S. Economy — this accounts for 4.2% of the United States GDP and is greater than the contributions of the construction ($586.7 billion), transportation and, warehousing ($464.1 billion) industries. More than 4.74 million people were employed in arts and culture economy as of 2013, according to the BEA study.

Consider the NEA and NEH as an internship program, a small business investment or a farm club for a 700 billion dollar business in the United States! Makes business sense to me.  The auto industry traditionally is 3-3.5% of the GDP of this country, and we bailed them out!

The Arts are too important to just throw away. It’s part of the fabric of this country, and if you don’t believe that, you’re not looking hard enough…

Reach out to your representatives in Congress and The House, tell them this belongs in the budget, it’s important to you and remind them you vote! Because that’s the language they speak. Reach out to the White House, let Donald Trump know we can have a strong military AND money for the new creative voices in America!

It’s worth every penny to invest, and to be honest, we are just talking about pennies…

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