Canvas-backed securities

“IT IS my urgent desire that the growing partnership between government and the arts continue to be developed to the benefit of both.” These are not the words of a left-wing cultural elitist from New York, but of President Richard Nixon in an intergovernmental memo from 1971. In this memo Nixon demanded that the heads of departments and agencies ask themselves how each “can most vigorously assist the arts and artists” and think on how “arts and artists can be of help to your agency and to its programs.”

One of the most enthusiastic responses to Nixon’s appeal was from Arthur Burns, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board who created the Fed’s Fine Arts Program in 1975. Nearly forty years on, the Fed’s art collection—with over 1,400 paintings, photographs and sculptures spread throughout its three buildings—is one of the best-kept secrets in Washington, DC.

Article source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2013/05/federal-reserve-s-art-collection

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