Monday, March 08, 2010

A Thought After the Oscars?

Barry, over at the Western States Arts Federation blog asks a great question:

Why not televise the National Medal of Arts Ceremony?

It would be a splendid opportunity, I think, to elevate and exalt the arts – and, because the honorees are so varied, it would have the potential of appealing to a wide audience. Past recipients have included such a stellar and representative sampling as: Les Paul, Dolly Parton, Robert Duval, Buddy Guy, Tommy Tune, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Twyla Tharp, Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Yo Yo Ma, Johnny Cash, Itzhak Perlman, I.M. Pei, Saul Bellow, BB King, Ray Charles, Bella Lewitskiy, Cales Oldenberg, Mikhail Baryshnikov, jazz great Benny Carter, Harold Prince, Barbara Streisand, Frank Gehry, Robert Redford, Tito Puente, Maurice Sendak, Wayne Thiebaud, Ray Bradbury, Gregory Peck, Richard Diebenkorn, Gene Kelley, Roy Lichtenstein, Cab Calloway, Paul Taylor, Beverly Sills, Jasper Johns –and such supporters and patrons as the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Fund and the Dayton Hudson Corporate Fund – to name but just a few. How’s that for an “A” list?


Ian Thal said...

I seem to remember a time when such a varied sampling of artists frequently did appear on American network television.

Art said...

Terry Teachout calls it - The Middlebrow Moment - that time when audiences were limited in their viewing choices and so they could be exposed to Opera, Ballet, Classical Music and Shakespeare performances.

Now, he says, things are a little different. This programming is available, but with the infinite choices we have, people aren't really exposed to it as much.

Ian Thal said...

I was having this conversation with a friend of mine where we were talking about how we were first exposed as children to such theatrical works as Sweeny Todd or The Skin of Our Teeth through PBS, and I've DVDs of plays by Beckett or performances by such greats as Alvin Epstein from the '60s and '70s that were originally shown on PBS. Does even PBS produce such things with any regularity anymore?

But back to my actual point: even the comercial networks used to present Baryshnikov, Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, and Itzhak Perlman with some regularity. It wasn't just the Muppet Show either bringing these folk on either.