Bernie Sanders Promises to Actually Support the Arts If He Becomes President

He says he's protected arts funding from ideologues across the aisle.

Bernie Sanders.<Photo Phil Roeder, via Flickr.

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders uttered the words “performance art,” and he wasn’t talking about Donald Trump.

In a recent YouTube video he promises to be “an arts president” and proclaims his support for arts education. “A strong introduction to the arts fuels the imagination and teaches children to be expressive,” he says.

In his usual unpolished style, the video is seemingly shot in one take, with the self-proclaimed democratic socialist tripping over his words a few times.

But more to the point, he touts his support for the arts even against opposition on Capitol Hill, taking the opportunity to stick it to House Republicans.

“I have continued my longstanding commitment to the arts and arts education during my time in Congress, in spite of terrible attacks on the arts from conservative ideologues,” he says. “I will continue to advocate strongly for robust funding of the arts in our cities, schools, and public spaces. Art is speech. Art is what life is about.”

Sanders has spoken out about the plight of American art education funding a number of times. When visiting schools in his home state of Vermont in March, Sanders said he was disturbed that music programs are often “first thing on the chopping block” when schools are short of funds.

“It’s not easy work,” Sanders said. “It takes a lot of discipline and I think that it’s a real shame that in schools across this country, including our own state, when schools don’t have the money those are the first programs to be cut.”

Many creative practitioners have signed on to Artists and Cultural Leaders for Bernie Sanders, including artist Shepard Fairey along with actors Will Ferrell and Danny DeVito, comedians Margaret Cho and Sarah Silverman, musicians Lou Barlow (Sebadoh), Jello Biafra (the Dead Kennedys), Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), and many others.

There’s also a new Sanders page at Americans for the Arts Action Fund that includes information on the candidate’s past positions and actions related to the arts.

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