Why I Refused the National Medal for the Arts

I recently refused the National Medal for the Arts. Some people have asked me why I did this, so I wanted to write a blog post to explain my thinking.

The National Medal for the Arts is a great honor, and I am very grateful to have been nominated. However, I believe that there are more important things than awards and recognition. I believe in using my platform to speak out for those who don’t have a voice, and to fight for justice.

So

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Introduction

I was deeply honored when I was asked to receive the National Medal for the Arts, and I am very grateful to those who made the nomination. However, I cannot accept this award without also acknowledging the deep contradictions in our country’s history with regard to the arts.

The National Medal for the Arts

In 1993, I was awarded the National Medal for the Arts, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an artist in the United States. I was deeply honored by the recognition from my government and my peers. However, I could not help but feel that something was missing.

The National Medal for the Arts is awarded by the President of the United States, and it comes with a great deal of prestige and recognition. However, it also comes with a ribbon and a medal that are both emblazoned with the seal of the President. For me, this was problematic.

As an artist, I believe strongly in freedom of expression. I do not want my work to be associated with any one political party or agenda. Therefore, I respectfully declined to accept the National Medal for the Arts.

Why I refused the National Medal for the Arts

I was recently offered the National Medal for the Arts, and after careful consideration, I have decided to decline the award.

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I believe that the arts should be accessible to everyone, and that the role of artists is to challenge authority and speak truth to power. Unfortunately, under the current administration, the arts are under attack.

The NEA and NEH have been defunded, and federal funding for the arts is at an all-time low. Meanwhile, museums and theaters are being forced to close their doors due to lack of funds.

In this time of crisis, I believe that it is more important than ever for artists to stand up for what they believe in. That is why I have decided to refuse this award.

The reasons for my refusal

I am deeply honored to have been nominated for the National Medal for the Arts. However, I must respectfully decline.

There are many reasons for my refusal, but chief among them is the fact that the National Medal for the Arts is a symbol of support for the status quo. The status quo is a world in which artists are increasingly undervalued and underfunded, while the rich and powerful use art to consolidate their power.

The National Medal for the Arts is awarded by the president of the United States, and I do not believe that Donald Trump deserves to be honored in this way. His policies and actions have been detrimental to artists and art organizations, and he has shown contempt for our communities.

This is not a decision I make lightly, but it is one that I believe is necessary. Thank you for your understanding.

The first reason – the National Medal for the Arts is a political award

The National Medal for the Arts is a political award. It is given by the president of the United States, and it is given to artists who the president believes have made a significant contribution to the arts in America. I refused the award because I do not believe that the arts should be used as a political tool.

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The second reason I refused the award is that it is given by an organization, the National Endowment for the Arts, that has been repeatedly criticized for its lack of transparency and its questionable business practices. I do not want to be associated with an organization that has such a tarnished reputation.

The third reason I refused the award is that it comes with strings attached. The National Medal for the Arts comes with a $20,000 prize, and if you accept the prize, you are agreeing to work with the National Endowment for the Arts in some capacity. I do not want to be obligate myself to work with an organization that I do not respect.

The second reason – I don’t believe in awards

The second reason I refused the National Medal for the Arts was because I don’t believe in awards. This may sound like a strange thing to say, but hear me out.

I believe that awards ultimately do more harm than good. They create an atmosphere of competition and envy, rather than cooperation and collaboration. And they often go to the people who are the best at self-promotion, rather than those who are actually the most talented or hard-working.

So I decided that I would rather not be a part of something that I don’t believe in. That’s why I refused the National Medal for the Arts.

The third reason – I don’t need validation from the government

The third reason I refused the National Medal for the Arts was that I don’t need validation from the government. I am happy to stand up for my principles without government approval.

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Conclusion

So, while it is an honor to be recognized by the government for one’s artistic achievement, I cannot in good conscience accept such recognition from an administration that does not value the arts and humanities.

Afterword

It is with a heavy heart that I must decline the National Medal for the Arts. This award is given by the government, and I cannot in good conscience accept it while our government actively works to undermine the arts.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) are two of our nation’s most important cultural institutions, and they are under threat. The NEA’s budget has been cut by over 40% since its peak in 1992, and it is now less than half of what it was in 1980. The NEH has also seen its budget shrink dramatically, and it is now down to just a fraction of what it once was.

These cuts have real consequences. They mean that fewer people have access to the arts, and that those who do have access often have to make do with less. They also mean that more artists are leaving the country in search of better opportunities elsewhere.

I believe that art is vital to our society, and I cannot in good conscience accept an award from a government that does not share my beliefs. I hope that by declining this award, I can help bring attention to the plight of the arts in America, and I encourage others to do whatever they can to support the arts.

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