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Written by Neil Simon

Staging by Minor Rootes

Publication Date

Fall 1976


Gorham, ME


Theatre, University of Southern Maine Department of Theatre, Theatre Program, Edmund S. Muskie

Accession Number



Arts and Humanities | Theatre and Performance Studies | Theatre History



Andy ... Michael Peters

Norman ... Patrick Dullea

Sophie ... Raylene Marden

In keeping with the flavor of The Star-Spangled Girl, the Theatre Department has asked the senatorial candidates for their comments relating to the arts in America. Senator Edmund S. Muskie replied thus:

The Federal Commitment to the Arts
by Senator Edmund S. Muskie

Students of history in future centuries will be at least as interested in the artist~c and humanistic beliefs and accomplishments of our society as they will about the majority of today's headlines. The arts are a society's yardstick and society's touchstone. They demonstrate the height and breadth of our moral, political and philosophical beliefs. They depict and describe our expectations, our hopes and our dreams. And they will tell future societies much more about us than we politicians or organized interest groups will.

What, then, is government's responsibility towards the arts and humanities? In societies we would call socialist or communist, the arts are directed or even controlled by the State. Under that view of government, the arts have a responsibility to participate in directing society toward preconceived goals.

Nothing could be more harmful to a free society such as ours than excessive government activity in the arts and humanities. Government's first responsibility should be not to meddle in the arts.

But government also has a responsibility, within its means, to encourage individual freedom and individual action in the arts and humanities. And in fact, the federal government contributes about $200 million a year to the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities alone. More than half a million dollars goes to Maine.

But it is a measure of our society that a far greater contribution to the arts is made by private endowments, individuals and the artists themselves.

That is as it should be.

One final note: for the first time, the Democratic Party platform includes a plank on the arts and humanities. I think it is a good one, and I offer it in full here: "We recognize the essential role played by the arts and humanities in the development of America. Our nation cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor. We endorse a strong role for the federal government in reinforcing the vitality and improving the economic strength of the nation's artists and art institutions, while recognizing that artists must be absolutely free of any government control. We would support the growth and development of the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities through adequate funding, the development of special anti-recession programs for artists, copyright reforms to protect the rights of authors, artists and performers, and revision of the tax laws that unfairly penalize artists. We further pledge our support for the concept and adequate financing of public broadcasting." Edmund S. Muskie

Location: Box R10, Folder 1

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

The Star Spangled Girl



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