“Freedom: Art as the Messenger.” “We are living in an era where people are finding their combative voice but having little conversation or dialogue. The goal of this exhibition is to provide a medium for that conversation,” the call for entry read. “A full spectrum of interpretation is invited … addressing Freedom in all its manifestations through art.” When the exhibition was formally announced, the description took on a more polemical thrust:
Freedom means something different to every person, yet its value is a common bond between Americans. In these polarized times, Freedom: Art as the Messenger aims to provide a unifying platform of civility and creativity. Artists from across the country … share innovative and thought-provoking perspectives on freedom and the enduring need for its protection.
For four decades, Cato’s only position on the arts was “defund the NEA.” Suddenly, it wanted to stake a claim to culture.