No one is going to accuse Governor Pawlenty of being overly supportive of the arts. This is, after all, the man who made disparaging comments that appointing a state poet laureate at no cost would lead to requests for a state mime, a state potter, and a state interpretive dancer – as if that is a bad thing (okay, maybe the mime would be a bit much but you get the point). Pawlenty has since plugged his nose and given us our poet laureate in Robert Bly, but this does not signal a more favorable view of the arts. As recently reported on MinnPost, his proposed budget is extremely hostile to the arts, and includes drastic cuts that would eliminate all general fund support and the State Arts Board by 2013. (More information can be found on the Mn Citizens for the Arts website.) Aside from the obvious concern about a lack of funding for artists and arts organizations, I am worried about the devisiveness of the current budget debate, and the tendency to pit constituencies against each other. The debate needs to be a bit more nuanced. Yes, police and fire departments are important and potholes suck. We also need theatre, libraries, museums, and, yes, even poetry. I’m just saying.