WASHINGTON — If Rep. Pete Sessions has his way, the federal government will recognize and promote a new artistic medium: magic.
An aide to Sessions said that the congressman hopes that his bill will open doors for magicians to apply for federal art grants, the same way artists can apply for grants in dance, theater, and the visual arts.
The text of the bill references the achievements of magicians like Harry Houdini and claims that magic is “timeless in appeal and requires only the capacity to dream” and “transcends any barrier of race, religion, language, or culture.”
David Copperfield is mentioned eight times in the legislation.
Dal Sanders, former president of the National Society of American Magicians and one of Sessions’ constituents, said both the United Kingdom and Canada have passed similar bills which have helped magicians in those countries apply for government grants.
Sanders also hopes that future versions of the bill provide protections for the “theft of intellectual property” — especially from China.
“Big problems happen in China,” said Sanders. “Magic shops there are full of items that are stolen — that nobody bought from the original creators.”
In 2014, the city of Wylie, Texas — which Sessions represents — declared the observance of National Magic Week. Gov. Rick Perry followed suit, signing a similar bill from the Texas legislature.
Sessions’ aide said that the lawmaker agrees with Wylie’s mayor Eric Hogue, who is also a magician, that it is important to expand the magician community. Hogue brought the issue to Sessions’ attention.
The aide said while the bill is straightforward, some reporters have called Sessions’ office to simply ask, “Why?”