Old Culture War Fears Bedevil Arts Funding (Still)

The failure of a major initiative to fund arts in Cleveland came down to some very old issues left over from the culture wars of the 1990s: “The reluctance to approve government-administered money for the arts might be due to the two deep-rooted and opposing fears that the Mapplethorpe battle caused: Would the grants pay for art that the public finds incomprehensible, unattractive, obscene or blasphemous? And would the government place restrictions on artists’ freedom of expression as a direct or indirect condition of the grants?”