National Endowment for the Arts Awards Grant to Subway
WASHINGTON (DPI) - The National Endowment for the Arts today awarded a
$300,000 grant to the Subway restaurant chain to foster the sandwich
chain's employment of "Subway sandwich artists." "With thousands of
restaurants in the United States, Subway gives work to more artists than
any other single employer in the country," Michelle Ogden, chairwoman of
the NEA grant awards committee, said during a press conference. "At the
NEA, we feel it our duty to recognize such a contribution to the arts."
Ogden said the choice became obvious at one particular meal. "We were at
lunch with the stack of grant applications, and were generally feeling
pretty disheartened," said Ogden. "It was just the usual bullshit --
sculptures out of old car parts, Shakespeare programs in urban schools,
all that crap. Then I bit into my Veggie Delite and it was like biting
into divine inspiration." Travis Chabon, a co-member of the committee,
agreed. "When Michelle brought up the idea of just giving it all to
Subway, I was skeptical at first. I mean, they hadn't even applied for a
grant. But after watching Subway Sandwich Artist Jimmy Martin put together
a Subway Seafood Sensation, I was convinced. It was like watching Pollock
splatter paint, but mouthwatering."
Reaction in the arts community has been mixed. The view of Marjorie
Rochel, a struggling playwright, was emblematic. "At first, I was totally
pissed off," she said. "Usually, the NEA would break up that award into
smaller awards, and a bunch of artists would all get some benefit. But
when I actually experienced Subway's work personally, I have to admit I
was swayed. The Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki is right up there with the
Mona Lisa, as far as I'm concerned. And it has less then 6 grams of fat!"
Other artists have been less supportive of the Endowment's decision,
but Ogden stood firmly behind the NEA's choice. "Some detractors have
claimed that Subway Sandwich Artists aren't even real artists at all, that
they're merely following a set menu. But would you claim that Andy Warhol
wasn't an artist? Besides, in the past the NEA has been highly criticized
for funding such controversial works as Mapplethorpe's homoerotic
photography and Chris Ofili's picture of the Virgin Mary covered in
elephant feces. Now we can all agree that the National Endowment for the
Arts is supporting work that is truly in good taste."
(Reported by R.M. Weiner)
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