As of Monday afternoon, more than 1,600 artists, designers, critics, curators, educators, musicians, performers, writers and other arts professionals have officially endorsed Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for US President.
An open letter endorsing Sanders has received more than 1,600 signatures so far after being released by the organization Artists4Bernie, which identifies as a international network of people that work within art and culture. Signatories so far include Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley, Kara Walker, Ariana Reines, Kevin Beasley, Hannah Black, amongst many others.
“Bernie Sanders is leading a working-class movement that transcends ethnicities, generations, and geographies. Artists and cultural producers are largely precarity laborers—often struggling without benefits, financial security, at the whim of the market,” reads the letter.
The letter continues by listing Sanders’ campaign promises, and linking them to a greater and more equal society. “Medicare for all, universal childcare, canceling student debt, and free public college, are just a few of the progressive changes that we support for their soundness and logic, that will spill over into a more equal cultural sphere.”
Support for Sanders’s foreign and international policies, Green New Deal, and overall his “unshakable ethics” are emphasized in the letter. “Overall, we strongly feel that only Sanders represents the values and virtues which all of us as cultural producers have always hoped to strive for,” the document reads. “In the words of Sanders, ‘You have my promise that as president, I will be an arts president. I will continue to advocate strongly for robust funding of the arts in our cities, schools, and public spaces. Art is speech. Art is what life is about.’”
The organization was launched by DIS, Mohammed Salemy and Jennifer Teets. Its name bears a similarity with the group Artists For Bernie, which creates artworks to support his campaign, however they are unrelated.
If Senator Sanders ultimately prevails as the Democratic candidate for US President, he will face current president Donald Trump who has famously proposed cutting the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities every year since he has been in office.