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The Art $800 Million Would Buy

View from my desk this afternoo
View from my desk this afternoo

Everybody loves to think about how they would spend a lottery jackpot. If I won the $800 million jackpot this weekend, I would buy an apartment in Paris, build a church for my congregation, donate to my alma mater, endow the local arts and culture charity that sponsors the Walker Percy Weekend, found an Orthodox Christian classical school, give generously to TAC, to the Benedictines of Norcia and to the Mars Hill Audio Journal — and that’s just for starters.

Former Episcopal monk Roy Cockrum won $259 million playing Powerball, and has used in in part to commission and produce a play about Thomas Merton. I love this story! What a great way to use a portion of one’s winnings.

Let me put the question to you all: If you won the $800 million jackpot, which one art or culture-related project would you support?

Note well that I am not asking, “What would you do with the money?” Nor am I asking for a list of arts projects you would support. So please don’t give me one. What I’m asking you to do is to think about if you were able to fund only a single, one-off arts project (versus endowing an institution) with your lottery money, what would it be? I’m willing to take a runner-up project too.

Mine would be to finance a film version of the novel Laurus, no question. My runner-up would be to fund a miniseries version of Robertson Davies’s Deptford Trilogy. 

What would yours be? Please follow the rules of the game, and limit yourself to one-off projects: a winner, and a runner-up.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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