Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
With rumours circulating that the Trump administration may be on the brink of slashing the National Endowment for the Arts, the American arts community is justifiably concerned.
However, worried champions of the liberal arts can take solace: it looks like an unlikely new ally may be about to step forward. Enter the second lady of the USA, Karen Pence, who is keen to raise awareness about art therapy as a treatment for trauma.
Mrs Pence, herself a passionate watercolourist, has been an advocate of art therapy for some time, having first been exposed to it during a visit to a Washington hospital more than a decade ago. ‘One thing I can bring to this as second lady is making people aware of what art therapy is and how it works,’ she told the Associated Press. ‘It’s not arts and crafts.’
In other White House culture news, art historian Dr Victoria Coates’s recent appointment to the National Security Council has provoked strong criticism from opponents who claim that her background is unsuitable for making high stakes foreign policy decisions. If nothing else, her appointment has created an unusual situation in which conservative Republicans may be forced to defend the value of an arts degree. Coates received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 with a thesis on one of the great patrons of baroque artists, Camillo Massimo. Let’s hope she also knows about Goya’s Disasters of War…