Hit & Run

Medicis of Menlo Park

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Dana Gioia, head of the National Endowment for the Arts, shows up in Silicon Valley to ask the old, old question: Why hasn't Silicon Valley produced a juicier crop of patrons of the arts? Although he says Opera San Jose comes close to being a "world class" institution, Gioia scolds cyberbazillionaires for their lack of fabulousness:

"You've had an economic renaissance but haven't created the visual legacies of that," he said. "Florence at the height of the renaissance was smaller than Palo Alto but look what it left behind."

I suspect the NEA's recognition of videogames as an art form will take a few more decades, but in the meantime it doesn't seem totally mysterious that tech poobahs aren't getting their culture fix from 400-year-old art forms.

Jim Henley pondered why an agency as useless as the NEA has a chief as good as Gioia a while back in Reason.