As many of you surely know, I am pursuing a graduate certificate in Advanced Skills in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University’s Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. In light of the budget cuts proposed in the House in the last week, I am attaching a paper I wrote for one of my classes about the National Endowment for the Arts and the controversy that erupted twenty years ago over the Robert Mapplethorpe retrospective at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which the NEA funded and which Congress shut down. It’s lengthy and a bit jargon-y, but if you want a good background summary of the ideological and cultural conflict that have always surrounded the NEA, look no further. And let me know your thoughts! I would love to facilitate some informal dialogues on the topic of arts activism, so don’t hesitate to let me know if you’re interested in joining the conversation.