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Norm Dicks, arts booster

Post by David Seago on Feb. 16, 2009 at 9:21 am |
February 16, 2009 9:21 am

We know Norm Dicks, the Sixth District’s man in the other Washington, as a friend of the environment and defense contractors. But who knew he was such a staunch supporter of the arts?

Today’s The New York Times has a story citing U.S. Rep. Dicks as playing a key role in preserving $50 million for the arts in the massive economic stimulus bill Congress passed last week.

Dicks swung into action behind the scenes, The Times reports, after Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn inserted an amendment that excluded museums, theaters and arts centers, along with casinos and golf courses, from stimulus funding.

Dicks has some ownership in the arts because the House Interior Appropriations subcommittee he heads also oversees the National Endowment for the Arts.

Two cheers for Dicks and allies who stuck up for the arts funding. It’s not hard to come up with good stats showing the economic benefits of healthy local cultural arts scenes. In fact, Tacoma’s downtown revitalization over the past two decades can be attributed to cultural initiatives such as the Pantages and Rialto theaters, the Museum of Glass, the Washington State History Museum and the Tacoma Art Museum.

A mere $50 million will be spread pretty thin nationwide, but every bit helps. Maybe MOG’s hotshop will get an extra glassblower or two.

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