The Texas Education with the help of TCAH, should figure out where Texas stands in arts education and draw up a comprehen plan for making the as an integral schools en3 aw to define standard art business practices and to protect the rights of artists in their relations with dealers, galleries and curators. A regions arts count The governor should ‘take action to secure membership for Texas in a regional arts council. Half our state’s budget goes for education. Yet recent studies document what parents have long suspected: our schools are graduating students who simply cannot read, write or do simple arithmetic well enough to function in our increasingly complex society. Parents have justifiably demanded better performance from the schools. Many educators have responded with a back-tobasics approach that downgrades or eliminates all instruction not directly and simplistically related to students’ ability to master the vocational skills necessary to get a job. In some school districts, art programs have been axed as fancy frills. Other districts, however, have discovered that an arts-enriched curriculum can stimulate impressive gains in reading and language skills for the children exposed to it Children should have access to a strong, basic education that teadhes them what they need to enter the job market successfully, and art education can contribute significantly to development of such skills. Children should also learn to reason, to develop critical faculties and moral judgment, and to communicate effectively. Again, the arts are indispensable. The first step must be a statewide inventory of programs, facilitiesand funding sources. The Legislature should direct TEA and TCAH to make such a study and to formulate a plan to maximize the role played by the arts in education. When the creative process is completed, artists perforce become businessmen who must rely on the law to protect them from the unscrupulous. Many problems artists encounter are covered by the same commercial code that applies to all business transactions, but their dependence on galleries and dealers places them at a disadvantage and calls for some special protection. Conflicts between artists and their dealers, galleries and curators typically arise over questions of insurance, security, ownership, documentation of sales prices, rights in the event of liquidation, advertising budgets, frequency of exhibitions, exclusive representation, and prompt remittance of proceeds from the sale of art. California and New York have laws defining artists’ rights and providing for the orderly resolution of such conflicts. The Texas Legislature should pass a similar law. The state could also play a crucial role in eliminating many misunderstandings by offering artists advice on financial technicalities through the TCAH. The commission could help them understand the arcane tax laws affecting them and provide information about contractual relationships, new markets, competitions, awards and grantsall of which would help artists the same way that the Texas Industrial Commission helps other businessmen or the Agriculture Department helps farmers. With a growing international art market flourishing in the state, consumers need special protection from unscrupulous or incompetent art dealers. The existing Consumer Protection Act has proven effective against some forms of art fraud, but successful prosecution is only remedial. Texas needs preventive legislation. In almost every sale of a fine print or piece of sculpture, the dealer knows much more about it than the purchaser does. The Legislature should pass a law requiring art dealers to reveal whether the work is part of an unlimited edition, how many signed or numbered copies have been authorized, the total size of the edition, whether the print or sculpture is an artist’s proof, how many artist’s proofs have been made, and the status of the original plates or castings. New Mexico, Arkansas and Oklahoma are currently members of federally funded regional arts councils. Texas is not. Members are able to dip into another pool of federal funds to provide new programming options for community arts groups. The councils also offer: regional exposure for local performing arts groups; technical assistance for large institutions such as operas which may not be numerous enough within a single state to justify the employment of a specialist on a state agency’s staff; arts programs; training centers for art administrators; a centralized source of information about new ways to support the arts and to help community organizations document the economic impact of the arts. Texas should not be left out. However, recent informal initiatives to join an existing regional council or, barring that, to form a new Southwest council with neighboring states quickly stalled. Our new chief executive should talk directly with other governors and use the prestige and influence of his office to reach an agreement. This sort of action at the top would enable Texas to claim its fair share of federal funds designated for regional arts council and expose the work of Texas artists to a regional audience. State Rep. Lance Lalor represents a Houston district: His article includes a much-abridged version of his Agenda for the Arts. Readers interested in the parts we left out can get copies of the complete agenda by writing him at the Texas House of Representatives, P.O. Box 2910, Austin 78769. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17. Art purchasers’ rights The Legislature should enact a law requiring full disclosure of pertinent details in the sale of fine prints and sculpture. ..,
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