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Why Pick on the NEA?

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To the editors:

Bryan Miller is a great performer (the best Cherubino I have seen in the U.S.A. or Europe) and also a good writer. But, she is wrong wrong WRONG to be critical of the N.E.A. ["Art Biz," August 3]! She knows perfectly well that every civilized country supports the arts with government funding! Also, the N.E.A. gets such a little part of the government budget. Why is she picking on them? Yes, every thinking person agrees that Peter Sellars' productions are crap. But giving the N.E.A. money does not mean that crap like that will be encouraged. She owes arts lovers an apology for criticizing something that we need.

Doug Kennelly

S. Dearborn

Bryan Miller replies:

I thank Mr. Kennelly for his compliments. But I didn't criticize the National Endowment for the Arts, I merely questioned the value of it. However, the German theatrical experience of the last three decades proves quite the opposite of his contention: massive government funding simply gives the wacko directors (of whom Peter Sellars is but the pallid and unoriginal imitator) carte blanche, and political correctness and connections have become, all too often, more important than artistic integrity. If it's any comfort, I question farm subsidies even more than arts subsidies.

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