I don't know if it's our Puritan roots or pioneer "I'm too busy trying to live to read a book" ethos or what, but America has never been great about supporting the arts. I can't tell you the...discussions...my parents and I had when I decided to switch my major from Marine Biology to English!
Just yesterday, Thomas Friedman recommended doubling the salary of teachers...but only those in math and science. What, elementary teachers, English teachers, history teachers, music teachers don't teach useful skills? He will receive, and deserves, gigabytes worth of protesting emails on that one.
Other countries have had Ministers of Arts or Culture for centuries, and it's high time the U.S. supported a similar position. Quincy Jones plans to ask President Obama to create a Secretary of the Arts, and here's an online petition you can sign in support of that.