NEA Shame On You

I’ll make this brief because this could turn into a real rant.  On Feb. 1, 2010, NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) released a ‘logo design contest’ call for proposals.  On Spec! You can read their Request for Proposal here.

As a board member of AIGA CT and a staunch supporter of the arts for the last 10 years…I AM APPALLED. Here’s the kicker. Despite requesting that “designers and contractors” work for free, the NEA goes on to state, “‘Art Works’ is a reminder that arts workers are real workers who are part of this country’s real economy. They earn salaries, support families, pay taxes. Artists are also entrepreneurs and place-makers, who revitalize towns, cities, and neighborhoods – both the economies and the ethos of them.”  If that’s the case, then why not actually HIRE a designer?  Designers have families, pay bills, and “are part of this country’s real economy” as well. Why not send out a real RFP (request for proposal) based on experience, style and chemistry, and then hire the best team for the job?

As a designer and writer working exclusively with the arts, I have seen how the arts community can work together and support one another.  I’ve seen artists support designers and designers support artists…I applaud and champion this type of networking and camaraderie. Isn’t the NEA a part of our community?  One thinks not after this announcement, given by NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman at a Miami high school (you know about high school…that place where kids go to learn?) which blatantly endorses design spec work.

NEA…I am very disappointed.

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