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New ‘New Deal’ May Help Boost the Arts

In partnership with KQED in San Francisco, NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels reports on the prospect for a new "New Deal" for the arts amid the economic downturn.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now the prospect for a new New Deal for the arts. NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels has the story. His report was done in partnership with the arts television program "Spark" produced by KQED-San Francisco.

  • SPENCER MICHELS, NewsHour Correspondent:

    The Porchlight Theatre in Marin County, California, is doing what a lot of arts groups across the country are: trying to raise money and having a hard time in the bad economy.

  • AUCTION PRESENTER:

    Porchlight will come to your porch for a minimum bid of $1,000. We can even go lower, if you'd like.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Tickets and an auction at this fundraiser brought in less than $1,500, which will only help a little.

  • AUCTION PRESENTER:

    Knee britches, red waistcoats…

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Already, a school theater program has been cut and future performances are in jeopardy.

    Nationwide, 129,000 artists are out of work, more than double a year ago, according to the National Endowment for the Arts. It's a familiar picture, especially pronounced in locales like the San Francisco Bay Area, where there are a lot of artists.

    Modern murals line an alley in the city's Mission District, but at least one painter here says he won't be creating any more. It's too expensive.

  • SIRRON NORRIS, Painter:

    This stuff costs money, because I'm not getting paid for it. It's out here for the community to see it. This is not something that I can afford to do anymore.

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