It seems that the arts as a political tool had a positive outcome for both cold war adversaries. As a dance lover in the 1960' I was thrilled by the Red Army Dancers on Ed Sullivan, the Moiseyev, and that old Bolshoi '67 film. Admiring those dancers made it much more difficult to dislike the Soviet People. The US's efforts to demonstrate our own artistic excellence may have been motivated by those cultural exchanges.
It's true that Jackie helped make the nation aware that we even possessed high culture at all, and that it was indeed world class. She made us proud of and excited about our poets and artists. Whether JFK himself actually appreciated the arts is less relevant than the fact that his administration hightened our awareness of the arts because of Jackie. Do you think there would be a stage for dance performances (small as it is) in the White House if Richard Nixon had won the election in 1960? I shudder to think about it.
I often think of the Kennedy Era as a sort of Work of Art in itself - part illusion, part politics, and certainly more than the sum of its parts. We all felt that we were part of something fine and beautiful A sense of confidence and well being was created, along with the awareness that our lives were enhanced when we included art as a neccessary component of our everyday lives. Jackie and JFK were responsible for helping to generate that sensibility. I can't imagine what the arts in America would be like now if it hadn't been for Camelot.
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