Obama wants (gasp) contemporary art in the White House?

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If so, it would be a good omen for the art world. Dreams that the Obamas would usher in a new era of cultural savvy in Washington took a beating last week when the Senate voted against including funding for the arts in the economic stimulus bill, calling theaters and museums "wasteful" and "non-stimulative."

The House version of the bill that was approved earlier today retained $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, and the prognosis for Senate approval is good; the vote is taking place as I write, so we'll see.

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