Coming soon: Columbia Univ. debate

Mayoral Forum on Arts and Culture coming to Teachers College, Columbia University

Art is communal and autonomous, but could same be said of elected officials in a bustling city like New York? Well, if we consider the ideal of a global market that is more interested in the replacement of traditional concepts like “the public good” or “the community” with values like small government, individual responsibility, trade and the privatization of city-owned enterprises such as schools, parks, toll highways, hospitals, utilities, water supplies, and Sandy ravaged Staten Island then the answer is no.

All the more reason why problems faced by the arts and how it is funded are seldom the topic of a genuinely serious political discussion. Sustained or not, it is almost never heard of.

Anyway, for the first time in the history of the city, an artist Abiodun Laurel-Smith, an independent candidate advocating for the duty of care in culture, in education, in technology, housing, healthy eating habits and voter participation is in the race for Mayor city of New York as Smithie for Mayor.

And he is scheduled to debate at this Forum on more funding for Arts and Culture.

“Obviously Mayor Bloomberg robustly funded the arts for the past twelve years, and he’ll be leaving office very soon. The question is, what does his departure mean to the arts – dance, theatre, opera, music and culture in general? Is the arts going to go back clinging to a marginalized existence or what? Are we gonna just stand, remain quiet and watch American neo-liberalists babble off about arts and culture as something that doesn’t fit in the market place and doesn’t exist at all? Hell no.” He says.

“Time is now. Return the gaze, generate wide support for an increase in the city’s financial commitment to the not for profit cultural community – including artists of all disciplines, to a full one percent of the municipal expense budget or maybe more.”

The debate, hosted by three organizations – Teachers College of Columbia University, Young Audiences New York and One Percent for Culture. Venue, Joyce Berger Cowin Auditorium at Teachers College, Columbia University Broadway between 120th and 121st Streets. Date, 30th of July, 2013. Moderators are WNYC’s Leonard Lopate and NPR’s Kurt Andersen.

Thank you in advance for your commitment to this great city of ours.

Sincerely yours,

Abiodun (Abbey) Laurel-Smith (Smithie for Mayor 2013)


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