Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More "art" making news!

College Displaying Crucifix in Rectum Got Millions in Tax Dollars
By Keriann Hopkins
CNSNews.com Correspondent
June 10, 2008

(WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of artwork that is offensive.)

(CNSNews.com) - Federal taxpayers are subsidizing a college in New York whose art school is currently displaying works that include a drawing of a man with a crucifix coming out of his rectum, a drawing of a man with a rosary coming out of his rectum, and rosaries decorated with penises.

Over the last eight years, at least $4.6 million in federal tax dollars have been provided to the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, which is displaying the controversial artworks. Some of the money has come in the form of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Most of the $4.6 million in federal tax dollars that has gone to Cooper Union over the last eight years has been given to the school's engineering and science programs. But Cybercast News Service has learned that the National Endowment for the Arts has given the school's art program more than $122,000 during that same period.

The NEA awarded the grants because, in its words, they "(enrich) our Nation and diverse cultural heritage by supporting works of artistic excellence, advancing learning in the arts, and strengthening the arts in communities throughout the country."

According to the NEA's Web site, the art school received:

-- $17,000 in 2001, $20,000 in 2002, and $10,000 in 2003 to support and expand a community arts partnership (CAP). This money went to provide pre-college studio art classes to the community "outside of the academic setting."

-- $400 in 2002 for design arts.

-- $45,000 in 2006 to support the school's Saturday Outreach Program, and its Outreach Track. These projects provide high school students with free visual arts education.

-- $10,000 in 2004.

The NEA grants did not go directly to fund Cooper Union's "best of" student art exhibition, which includes the controversial drawings of student Felipe Baeza that depict a man with an erection and a halo over his head; a man with a rosary hanging from his rectum; a man with a crucifix extending from his rectum, and a man with his pants down over an angel holding two rosaries with penises attached to them.

Cooper Union is a private institution that provides full-tuition scholarships to all enrolled students. Like most private universities, it uses federal grants for research projects and for funding education programs.

Federal grants to Cooper Union over the last eight years went mainly to the school's engineering program. According to the federal government's Web site, the grants included:

-- $22,537 from the U.S. Department of Education
-- $62,445 from the U.S Air Force
-- $1.1 million from the National Science Foundation
-- $7,175 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology

The college also received $2.8 million for student financial assistance programs, mainly in the form of Pell Grants.

Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at Concerned Women for America, said that since money is "fungible" it did not matter what program the federal tax dollars were directed toward. Money that is obtained for one purpose, he said, typically frees up other money that can then be used for other purposes.

The Cooper Union Web site boasts that since 2000, the engineering school received funding from NASA, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the National Security Agency, the City of New York Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Energy and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Calls to Cooper Union were directed to press officer Jolene Resnick, who directed Cybercast News Service to a news release that said: "The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art End of Year Show is curated by faculty of the schools of architecture, engineering, and art, as it has been for more than 40 years. Hundreds of student works are shown annually without censorship -- a tradition at the school since its founding by Peter Cooper 150 years ago."

The student art exhibit runs until June 10.

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