Notions: Porky Patchwork?

by melissa on November 27, 2012


A few days ago, our creative director Megan Dougherty nosed out a newspaper editorial written by the Chattanooga Times Free Press that slammed the use of public funding for the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.

In particular, the paper contends that federal monies are wrongly pledged to the IQSC because its focus is too narrow and it does not benefit the majority of the population. Besides, nobody but “Aunt Bee, The Waltons and Ma Ingalls” are interested in quilts anymore.  It’s just another “pork project.”

(Use this link to read the editorial for yourself.)

Oh, what the heck! We’ll save you the trouble and repeat one of the cogent points. The editorial says, “It is said that ‘a quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul.’ With over $1 million of tax money spent subsidizing the International Quilt Study Center and Museum since its inception, it could also be said that ‘a quilt museum will snatch your wallet and take your money.’”


This industry generates $3.6 billion annually in America alone and employs thousands of men and women, but people aren’t interested in quilting anymore? Gee, Solyndra (now defunct) got a $535 million loan guarantee and this editorial writer is steamed about a museum and study center that has gotten about $1 million total during the past 15 years. Oh, and it’s still in business. In fact, its collection is growing, as is its usage by industry scholars and visitors.

But we digress.

Many quilters have responded eloquently to this ill-conceived editorial, including GenQ publisher Jake Finch, who went on a rant. (Her two comments are listed in the comment section under “alljake” if you’re interested.) We feel the editorial writer (and as a newspaper editorial, the writer should remain anonymous, though usually it’s the opinion editor who cranks the thoughts out) did not do his or her job in researching the industry and the IQSC’s efforts before passing sarcasm and judgement.

Thanks to The Quilting in America Survey conducted every few years since the turn of this century, q-biz info is so easily found on the Internet that we can only conclude that the writer was too lazy to bother looking. More disturbing is the writer’s premise that importing mass-produced factory quilts replaces the need for what today’s quilters, fiber artists, sewists and stitchers create. Most concerning is that this writer, working off the stereotype of elderly country women stitching in rocking chairs, shows no respect for how quilting has defined American women (mostly) over the generations.

One particularly obnoxious and cliche riddled line in the editorial stated, ”…the National Endowment for the Humanities raided federal coffers…” The IQSC and Museum perfectly align with the NEH mission. Yesterday’s quilts are a reflection of our history as women and Americans. Today’s quilts reflect and document our interests and concerns, and so much more. And yes, we can argue about how public money is spent, but this piece transcends what could be a valid fiscal debate into dissing several centuries of women’s handwork into irrelevance.

We emailed the two opinion editors listed at the paper, and urged them to do more research into quilting and acknowledge the many women AND men who earn part or all of their income from this so-called irrelevant pastime. We gave them links to the 2010 Quilting in American Survey, and our own 2011 Modern Quilting Survey, for comprehensive industry info. And then we asked them to leave off the chauvinistic stereotypes and jabs.

We thought we’d share the response:

“Mr. Finch:
Just because you like quilting and are excited to defend the hobby, it does not mean that it is appropriate for the federal government (and, more specifically, taxpayers who either have no interest in quilting, or live too far from Nebraska to ever benefit from the museum) to fund the quilting museum.

“It is a pork project that advantages a very narrow group of people at the expense of all others. It is simply not the role of the federal government to fund special interest museums, no matter how nifty you think they are.

“I encourage you to continue quilting and encouraging the growth of quilting. However, those who have no interest in quilting should not be forced by lawmakers and bureaucrats to fund an homage to your hobby – just like you shouldn’t be forced to pay for the race car, merry-go-round and Mark Twain museums that also snag federal handouts.

Drew Johnson
Editor, Free Press Opinion Page
Chattanooga Times Free Press

Jake doesn’t rant silently. Her answer, which we’ve edited for length, but not for tone or content:

“Dear Mr. Johnson:

“First, Jake is short for Jacqueline, a point I do not hold you wrong for, but which is also easily searched and discovered with a couple of keystrokes. It’s why I know that you’re male instead of female.

“Second, if a federal program, like the NEH, is established to support arts efforts, and quilting is an art and has significant historical value…Since the NEH’s board deems that the effort supports its humanities classification, what is your issue? I would never presume to say an auto museum is merely ‘nifty’ just because I don’t care a lick about cars. I instead respect that there is a historical significance to the history of auto making as well as respecting the art, technology and design involved in creating cars.

“Opinion editors rarely like their opinions questioned, but when you have so flagrantly neglected to do your homework to determine the significance of this ‘nifty’ museum, as well as the demographics of the quilting industry, many opinion editors I personally know would table the sarcasm, defensiveness and the derision to maybe consider that their assertion has valid counterpoints and that they might have taken a wrong turn, if not in the content, then certainly in the delivery of their message.

“Would you deny federal funding to what might be perceived a loftier museum institution, such as MOMA or the Smithsonian? Are the arts, history and sociological study not worthy of ANY type of federal funding? Are the tourism dollars generated from special interest efforts to the surrounding populations not directly involved in the pursuit ‘irrelevant?’….

Jake Finch”

Tells us what you think. Are public funds ever well spent on quilting? Maybe we’re wrong about how money should be spent. But we sure know we’re not wrong on the growth and popularity of our industry and the passion of those involved. It’s why we’re able to publish GenQ, after all.

On Thursday we’ll take a deeper look into the International Quilt Study Center and Museum and what it does, exactly.

Leave a Comment

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlotte Identicon Icon Charlotte November 27, 2012 at 3:13 am

I felt unable to get involved in this argument because I was so completely incensed by it that I could barely form a coherent sentence. Also, as I live in the UK, it does not directly involve me. I do, however, take deep offence to the implication that we are all a bunch of kooks with an irrelevant and dying hobby. Point me at these people and I will give them a good old British slapping.


Diane Identicon Icon Diane November 27, 2012 at 6:50 am

Brava! Well done. I look forward to the follow up on the Museum which connects people so much better than the “bridge to nowhere.” Perhaps there’s an art quilt in this discussion of pork projects and hamfisted editorials.


donnastitches Identicon Icon donnastitches November 27, 2012 at 7:35 am

How sad that this editorial writer didn’t bother to look at the educational mission of the museum, either. Most museums offer curriculum resources for school teachers and students. IQSCM also supports learning at every level from graduate-level academic research to the lifelong learning of non-academic quilters. In my opinion, it’s important for people of all ages and levels of learning to know their history, how people lived, and how traditions and technology develop and evolve. But then, perhaps this writer works for a company that supports privatized education-for-profit and a political system that prefers constituents whose critical thinking skills are not well developed? I wouldn’t know, because I didn’t bother to do any research on that.


Cindy Sharp Identicon Icon Cindy Sharp November 27, 2012 at 7:53 am

I do have to wonder what business the government has funding the arts. I don’t think that is what government is for. Aside from that my take is that the editor was trying to be funny….EPIC FAIL. He was reaching for an hyperboli and got a pin encrusted cushion. I hope his hand smarts. (But I suspect it is too calloused to be effected.)


Sally Identicon Icon Sally November 27, 2012 at 7:54 am

My rebuttal. I’ve left out “quilts as art” completely: as a standalone topic quilting is as deserving of recognition as masterpieces created in tempera, clay, wood, metal, musical notes or any other medium, but the argument seems to center on whether or not quilts are historically significant.

Quilting shares a history in line with our own development as a nation; it shares our American traits of utilizing and adapting every tiny bit of usable material for the project at hand, a love of engineering, welcoming outsiders, and the unquenchable thirst for building a foundation for future generations. In addition there are “hard” factors: the development of the cotton industry, the industrial revolution which contributed so heavily to the development of sewing machinery and the mass-production standard, thousands upon thousands of jobs created each year even now. Add the “soft” factors: the toil of our early settlers; the chances of survival greatly increased by this tool for external warmth; the passage of skilled crafts from generation to generation; the joy of giving or receiving the result of such skilled craftmanship with a functional benefit by definition. And any time there is a disaster, quilters are right behind the red Cross giving monies and needed blankets to survivors, and even wrappings to the dead. I would wager that there are donated quilts in nearly every hospital and homeless shelter in the nation. The history is a significant but small portion of quilts’ importance; these other factors play such a huge role that the allotment would in fact be larger were we to actively acknowledge the contribution quilted blankets have made to our country.


Rae Arnold Identicon Icon Rae Arnold November 27, 2012 at 7:57 am

I think Jake and I were leaving comments on the opinion piece at the same time.

While the idealist political part of me says that no, they shouldn’t receive federal funding because I think a ton of things should stop receiving federal funding since we need to reign in federal spending (and it could correlate with tax cuts so that we could choose to fund it ourselves with that money and not, say, the giant ball of yarn museum), the realist in me knows that there will always be pork projects unless the government is completely overhauled, and thus we should continue funding programs that support art and history—and the IQSC is well aligned with the goals of existing federal programs that do support the arts and history.

In other words, the author and eboard of the Times are the ones who “have become largely irrelevant in modern culture.” Their lack of research into the topic reminds me of some of the more lambasted pieces from my college newspaper—a paper published by a school with no journalism program. It is certainly not of a professional calibre. The fact that the Editor continues to support the stance and his patronizing tone in response to “Mr. Finch” seems to indicate just how much of a close-to-heart rant the piece truly is, rather than a prompt for conversation on the subject. And once you reach that point, it is past time to review the direction of the editorial board.


Aimee Morgan Identicon Icon Aimee Morgan November 27, 2012 at 8:25 am

What bothers me the most about this whole thing is not the ignorant, stereo-typed, and ill-informed editorial. It’s an editorial. It’s someone’s opinion, and if that someone wants to be an ignorant, ill-informed doofus, that is entirely his right. If a newpaper wants to publish the aforementioned opinion, that is also their right. Free speech and let morons be morons, and all that.

I understand (but don’t agree with) the editor’s stance – federal funds should not be spent on anything that is not of benefit to the nation as a whole. But let’s look at that. I don’t live on a flood plain, so using tax money to underwrite flood insurance doesn’t help me. I have a job, so I don’t want my money going to unemployment. I didn’t vote for the current president – I don’t want my money going to his salary.

I trust you get the picture.


Nann Identicon Icon Nann November 27, 2012 at 8:41 am

I began to write a letter to Mr. Johnson but got tangled up in verbiage. IMLS and other federal agencies provide support to cultural institutions all over the country because they have inherent value — to educate and to inspire. Jake, I think you wrote eloquently (and good for you for pointing out his lazy research) — some people like cars, or Civil War battlefields, or seeing presidents’ birthplaces. Some of us like quilts. It’s a big country with diverse people and diverse interests. Let’s celebrate our cultural heritage — and advocate for IMLS, NEH, NEA, etc.


SarahC Identicon Icon SarahC November 27, 2012 at 8:56 am

I take issue with the taxpayers who “live too far from Nebraska to ever benefit from the museum”. First of all, I live too far from the Smithsonian to visit it on a regular basis and, in fact, will probably never go there, yet, it receives federal funding. This doesn’t bother me, though, because the Smithsonian has a website, produces publications accessible across the country and sponsors traveling exhibits. Surprise, surprise, a cursory examination of the IQSCM website shows that it provides these things as well. Though I may never actually visit the museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, I can explore their quilts online, find (or convince a group to sponsor) a traveling exhibit or use the curriculum they’ve designed. (Although now that I know about it, I’m a whole lot closer to Lincoln than I am to Washington DC and I may make a trip out there.) I’m wondering if the writer would be as incensed if this museum was located in a state with a higher population than Nebraska? Especially based on the, comparatively, small amounts of funding they’re talking about.


Jane Identicon Icon Jane November 27, 2012 at 9:18 am

When I first read the article on, I thought (excuse my explicit thoughts here) what the ****!!!
I mean… quilting has been really big in the United States in the past, and right now, there is a new hype about it – and this hype is big enough that it even hit Europe. I know that we have people over here who want to travel to the States because there IS a museum that holds oodles of quilts and tells stories about them, the fabrics, their makers (as far as possible), the history of quiltmaking and the history of women in the United States. So it even attracts people from other continents… yet another reason why those $$ are well spent on the IQSC.
No, I don’t think that Jake is wrong with what she wrote. She’s just more than right!
In a world if disposeable items, we need to learn again to value handmade things again.
A cheap quilt, a mass-product that was sewn in – let’s say – Bangladesh, that was bought somewhere in a mall will never be the same like a quilt that someone has sewn especially for you. It will never be unique as each and everyone of us is. It will never hold any memories and when the colors begin to fade, we just throw it away and buy a new one.
Isn’t the IQSC also teching us to value handwork again?
Isn’t it showing us that you can make a piece of art from a scrap bag or even from old clothes?
Isn’t it showing us that you don’t need to buy the most expensive stuff to create something wonderful?
I could go on with this list forever I guess… but with each and every point I think of, I’m hoping more and more that I will be able to visit the IQSC one day in the near future…
(Just my two cents… I pay my taxes in Germany, and believe me: there are things/museums/whatever over here that get even more money and that don’t do nothing for the public…)


callie fritts Identicon Icon callie fritts November 27, 2012 at 9:40 am

I love and appreciate the significance of quilting thru history and I also create with fabric, be it ever so humble. I think federal money should NEVER be spent on “the arts”. A community should support a museum, symphony or ballet.


Sarah Craig Identicon Icon Sarah Craig November 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

Oh, Callie, a community DOES support this – the community of Americans! That federal money came out of your pocket, wherever you live,and my pocket, here in TN, and pockets all over the country – so the museum can be available for all of us. Just imagine if we could only have access to whatever our own communities could afford to provide – might as well go back to the days when we weren’t the UNITED states!

Jake was spot on with her original letter, and her response to that rude, condescending little man! He should be ashamed for speaking in such a way to anyone……..


Krista - Poppyprint Identicon Icon Krista - Poppyprint November 27, 2012 at 9:58 am

hear, hear. Sock it to ‘em ladies. What a moron.


Joanne Moore Identicon Icon Joanne Moore November 27, 2012 at 10:24 am

Excellent Mr. Jacqueline!!! No one ever asks me how they may use my tax dollars so the fact that any goes towards quilting gives me utter happiness and satisfaction!


Flaun Identicon Icon Flaun November 27, 2012 at 11:12 am

His response made me even angrier than I was before. After taking a few minutes, I came up with a coherent response:

Not only is this opinion piece lacking in research and courtesy, but also in common sense. There are several projects currently receiving federal funding which are narrow in scope and too far for most US citizens to visit. They continue to receive funding. I’m certainly not asking to defund any facilities that I don’t have an interest in seeing. Simply because a thing is not widely popular does not mean is is worthy of derision or relegation to history books. Your piece, sir, proposes that the entire nation should be held in ignorance; that no one should hear about this important part of women’s history. You proport only those things you deem worthy ought to receive federal funding. Were that the case, there are several items in the federal budget I would like to have removed.


Heather Identicon Icon Heather November 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Sounds to me like Ron Swanson is in charge of the Times Free Press!


karenthequilter Identicon Icon karenthequilter November 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Thank you Jake, for shedding light on this poorly written, poorly researched and ignorant rant of an editorial. I love that most of their editorials average 2-5 comments – this one has earned 57!


Casey Identicon Icon Casey November 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Many thanks both for drawing attention to this editorial and for your reasoned, gracious, and well-supported responses to its author and publisher. I read through the comments at the site and don’t feel there is much I could contribute that would convince the author to revisit his opinions, which, as an art historian, saddens me. Unfortunately, it seems there will always be controversy over whether public funding should be allocated to the humanities.

Since for now we *do* publicly support these fields, however, we should not forget that institutions such as the IQSCM provide invaluable research and conservation functions in addition to the roles they play fostering and furthering the contemporary interest in quilting. The history of material culture is all to often dismissed as the history of mere “craft” (especially those “crafts” in which women have been the primary producers) despite the rich and varied light their study sheds on social, economic, and cultural history. Centers devoted to the study of particular objects, such as quilts, are vital stewards of information that will one day be recognized more broadly for its contribution to our understanding and appreciation of the history of this country and beyond.


Helen Klebesadel Identicon Icon Helen Klebesadel November 27, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I am pretty sure that editor would, in fact, deny federal funding to all museums. This is a profoundly anti-art perspective sprinkled with sexism. Thanks for calling the editor on it.


Dianne Identicon Icon Dianne November 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Very eloquent Jake. I can’t think of anything nice to say about the editor who wrote the article so will refrain from saying anything here. You can bet there is a rant going on in my head though!!!


Shaaryn Griffiths Identicon Icon Shaaryn Griffiths November 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Hear, hear Jake. I’m more likely to make a visit to a quilt museum on my trips overseas than to MOMA.
That editor is obviously a pompous self-opinionated bigot.
Shaaryn Griffiths, Brisbane, Australia


SewCalGal Identicon Icon SewCalGal November 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I look at these sort of funds as a small drop in the bucket of overall government programs that enrich and educate others, but while this example is focused on “quilting” it sounds like it has overlooked the benefits to much needed tourism to this area. And, I for one, am confident that the surrounding area draws in way more benefits from tourism as a result of having such a fine museum in the area. It draws national and international quilters and admirers of fibre arts to the area. They spend money on hotels, in restaurants, as well as shopping and other tourism activities in the area.

Sadly, there are ignorant people that don’t understand the value of quilting to a society, as well as quacks that don’t value libraries either.



Kate Identicon Icon Kate November 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm

One thing I’m struck by is the rather juvenile and uneducated tone and research of the original article. Basically he’s a small town redneck idiot who just spouted crap without research. Like any troll, doesn’t deserve the energy of a big response.
Anyone with an ounce of education and world view knows that supporting the arts and history is a vital component for a society to flourish and learn from itself. A much better use of government funds than roads in Alaska that go nowhere and bombers that even the military doesn’t want that cost hundreds of millions… There are better things to bitch about. I’m going to go sew now…


Pat Identicon Icon Pat November 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm

When you are a journalist who lacks talent and is too lazy to do research, the easiest thing to do is write something outrageous, then stand back while the sh*t hits the fan. In other words, the old “negative attention is better than no attention” school of writing. I think we should stop giving this Neanderthal attention. Instead we should contact all of the quilt guilds in Tennessee that we can (here’s a start:, email them the link to the article, and start a campaign to boycott the paper and its advertisers.

On the other hand, I looked up this newspaper on Wikepedia. Apparently it’s the product of a merger between 2 papers. This is from Wikepedia:

“The Times Free Press is most unusual among U.S. newspapers in that it runs two editorial pages, one staunchly liberal, the other staunchly conservative, reflecting the editorial leanings of the Times and Free Press. ”

You could also try contacting the editor of the other side of theb house and start a war between the two.


Beezus Identicon Icon Beezus November 28, 2012 at 12:01 am

I think that you assume too much when you say that the editorial writer was too lazy to do a basic internet search to find data. He (and I am POSITIVE it’s a man, because even women who don’t quilt seem to still feel nostalgia about someone in their family having done so in the past) probably hasn’t yet heard of ye olde interwebs just yet. Obviously very out of touch with the modern world . . .

And as a historian, I have seen the trends turn over the years to focus on the “everyday” people instead of the few at the top who seem to make all the decisions. Quilts have come into their own (as have pieces of furniture and other non-traditional resources) as avenues to explore the history of women and families. Should the government fund this? I have to admit to being on the fence about it – seems like we have some f-ed up priorities here. After all, it’s taken 100 years or so for universal health care to make it into law. Kind of amazing that this is practically a done deal.


Eileen Keane Identicon Icon Eileen Keane November 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Methinks this man’s opinion smacks of misogyny. Perhaps, in his youth, he sat on a needle. Whatever may have happpened, it turned him into a small minded hater. I think we’ve given him what he wanted-attention-and we should stop. Then he’ll shrivel up, and go away.


Deana Identicon Icon Deana November 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I think the gov’t has to have a hand in preserving it’s history and culture. Period. While there are many silly things the gov’t pays for and sends far more money overseas then it should; art, history and culture isn’t one of them. Especially when the amount is a piece of sand in the bucket.


Natalie Barnes Identicon Icon Natalie Barnes November 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm

…..a well crafted response, Sir Jake!
As for Mr. Drew? Let’s face it. Poorly written and poorly researched is just that.


Chris Rolinson Identicon Icon Chris Rolinson December 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm

What a totally ill informed jerk this Drew Johnson is. Firstly my name is Chris – short for Christine which I prefer -and am constantly amazed that (in this century) people assume like Jake’s experience, that I am male! I find it rude and offensive but I too digress. If quilting is such a niche area of interest and a “pork project” perhaps he would like to know that I have recently returned from the Houston Quilt Festival along with a friend. And by the way we flew from Sydney Australia and took 24 hours to get there. Given that the exchange rate is US/A dollar for dollar I wonder how much my friend and I contributed to the American economy and the quilt industry (for just a hobby ???) whilst we were there. I spent around US$5,000 and goodness knows my friend spent more than me!! We flew United, we stayed in your hotels, we were part of a tour group that employed a coach driver and tour guide. We ate in restaurants, rode on public transport, spent money in shops small and large other than quilt shops, went to the Houston Quilt Festival etc. (along with 8 other Australians), purchased antique quilts, bought souvenirs. We generously spread this over San Antonio, Houston, San Francisco and Montana and all points in between. I understand the attendance at Houston is always around 50-55,000 over 4 days. Just a small event. Along the way we visited The Texas Quilt Museum which has only been opened around 18 months. This Museum has totally revitalised this small town other shopkeepers said, providing employment for a number of people and the reason for the establishment of at lease one new business. One small cafe provided lunch for 36 people at $10 a head – a $360 sale just on one day! Is this to be sneezed at? This was just one coach and there were numerous others just on that day alone. There is an old saying that goes something like ‘better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and be proven right’. Will someone tell Drew Johnson this please?


Lauren Identicon Icon Lauren December 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm

There have been many wonderful comments about quilts, the purpose they serve, and the quilt industry in general. I am also a quilter and agree with most of what has been said. I am also a person who believes in the arts and the importance that they play in both education and history. I would like to address the museum side of the discussion.

If the editor had done his homework, he would have discovered that between the years of 2008 – 2012, the US Federal Government gave $821,343,657.00 in federal grants to museums and libraries (which averages out to about $170,268,731.00 per year). Puerto Rico, Samoa, Northern Marianas, Guam and the US Virgin Islands were among the recipients. They allocate this in the budget and someone will receive the money. It is not as though they are taking away from something else…it is part of the the Federal Budget. Many museums and libraries could not exist without the governments assistance. So, unless Congress cuts the budget for the “Institute of Museum and Library Services” there will be grants for museums, many of which we will never visit.

Of that amount Tennessee received between, $16,341,001.00 ($3,268,200.00 average per year), and Nebraska received a whopping $7,025,322.00 ($1,405,064.00 average per year). Tennessee received more than double the monies of Nebraska.

The small amount that IQSCM received did not in any way affect the citizens of Tennessee. The citizens of Nebraska could argue the same point of the arrogant and narrow minded Editor of The Chattanooga Free Press, because they most likely will never visit the museums and libraries in Tennessee.

In 1966 Mike Wallace categorized museums into four distinct types: national museums that hold collection of national importance, armed service museums, independent museums and local authority museums. Wallace stated that “the importance of museums lies in their role as a nation’s memory bank”. Museums are our only source of “living history”. IQSCM is not a local museum, but a national one, preserving our past and teaching us about the future.

Quilters are not the only ones that benefit from IQSCM in Nebraska and the National Quilt Museum in Paducah; but because of their existence, our future generations will have a look at the past to learn from.

If you have never been to the Smithsonian, then you may not know that it is 100% free to the public. There are 19 museums that make up the Smithsonian. Why shouldn’t federal money help preserve our past and future and help fund our museums? I would much rather my tax dollars go to a museum, than to an unnecessary war.

A wise person once said, “You can’t tell where you are going, unless you know where you have been.”


jake Identicon Icon jake December 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Lauren, your comment is amazing! You’ve obviously done far more research than our editor-on-the-stake did. Bravo to a great response. Oh, and not to embarrass you, but we gave you a shout-out in the Dec. 5 post running tomorrow. :-)


Lauren Identicon Icon Lauren December 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

Thank you Jake…I only wish you edited out all my grammatical mistakes. LOL It is funny how you see them once you have posted a comment and not when you are writing it. Thank you for posting such an important topic and kudos to all the people who responded here on your site and to the article at the Chattanooga Free Press.


Janet Suber Identicon Icon Janet Suber December 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I live in Chattanooga and thought I might add a bit to this conversation. The Times Free Press is an interesting publication. It actually has two opinion pages, literally, one on the left side (the Times) and one on the right (The Free Press). If you notice, Drew Johnson is the Opinion Editor on the right side, and I mean the far right side. No amount of reasoning with him will ever convince him that one cent of federal money should be spent on anything other than war and tax breaks for the 1 percent.


Alison Gates Identicon Icon Alison Gates December 6, 2012 at 10:06 am

I’d like to point out here that any money a museum or arts organization gets from our federal government is obtained through a grant process. Therefore, it’s competitive, and one must work to prove the worth of the expenditure to the government. Therefore, it’s not actually any kind of a “handout.” It’s money one has to argue for, justify, and later, account for the expenditure of (if one is chosen to receive the funds.) In most industrialized countries, the people deem the arts and humanities (history, culture) to be part of their national identity, and a source of great pride. Therefore, the funding they provide to their cultural institutions is much much greater than the funding the American people provide for ours. If you are worried that our culture is in danger, that our national identity is in jeopardy, that our children won’t know what made America great – then you should support federal funding of things like quilt museums in Nebraska.


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