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About the Author


John's trilogy of books on sports and philosophy, Socrates the Rower (courage, and self-knowledge);  Carrying the Clubs (golf and ethics); and Skiing and the Poetry of Snow  (glimpsing the world behind the world) are out there, inert, but steaming, waiting for you to pick them up, read them, and challenge your body and mind as you dive into life.


Now John is writing fiction (intentionally this time).


Blood and Faith is an international thriller involving Russia, Ukraine and the United States in a crisis precipitated by the theft of Eastern Orthodoxy's most sacred Icon.  It is timely and historically prescient about the longstanding quarrels between Russia and Ukraine.

In the sequel, The Dangerous Illusion of Art, Lara seeks to regain her equilibrium, only to be tossed about in the world of money laundering, fake art, local politics, and rural mayhem.  It quickens her senses, and her desire for romance.



With degrees from Stanford, Chicago, and Oregon in American History, Ethics, and Law, John
Frohnmayer’s views on freedom of speech and public funding of the arts became well known during the first Bush Administration when he was Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. That national debate over obscenity, censorship, and freedom of speech is recounted in his book: Leaving Town Alive: Confessions of an Arts Warrior.


A lifelong trial lawyer, John is also a competitive masters rower, a singer and guitar player, and a
frequent author of commentaries for print and radio.


His life in the arts started as legal counsel for the International Sculpture Symposium of 1974 in Eugene, Oregon. In those halcyon days of abundant federal money, seven internationally known sculptors were coming to town, each to create a monumental piece. The symposium had its legal challenges: Dimitri Hadzi’s assistant turned over the boom truck before John got a written insurance binder; two assistants got in a fist fight about whose boss was a real artist; and John Chamberlain showed a pornographic film in the city council chambers.


The sculpture symposium led to chair of the committee that chose the first public art for the State
Capitol, eight years on the Oregon Arts Commission by appointment of two separate governors,
Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and two terms on the board of Oregon Humanities.
Interspersed with these public positions, have been dozens of non-profit boards and countless individual artists, musicians, writers, poets, administrators, and dancers with whom he has worked in and out of the legal field.


He believes that:

Art is citizenship. It is the willingness to be honest in public; to tell the truth to power; to engage with each other in community.

Art is courage. No tears from the writer, no tears from the reader. Rejection is the ever-present host of all artists.

Art is celebration. Celebration of our triumphs and follies.

Art is conscience. It is the power of the powerless; the fishwife of the satisfied; the pied piper of
those whose brains are still in their original wrappers.

Art is the power of choice. What to include and more importantly, what to leave out. The power of

Art is subversive. Creativity and imagination are not friendly to the world of order and settled

Art is ambiguity. Having it all together is perhaps the least interesting condition for an artist. Chaos, uncertainty, boredom, and making sense of the commonplace—therein lies the challenge and the necessity.

Art is freedom. Poet William Stafford says you can be free some of the time if you get up before
everyone else. (He got up at 4 a.m. to write, and his daughter, feeling sorry for him, got up to keep him company).



Aristotle, in refuting Plato’s criticism that artists mislead the people and defeat reason, said that the
artist’s unique talent is to perceive the universal from the particular. John believes, along with the
philosopher Heraclitus, that we cannot step into the same river twice, that everything we do changes us, and that certainty becomes increasingly elusive. But along with Keats he is certain “of the holiness of the Heart’s affections; of the truth of the imagination; and of wonder and mystery as the root of all

Author Statement


Freedom of Speech and the Arts, C-SPAN, 1992

In an unusually heated speech, John Frohnmayer spoke against critics of the National Endowment for the Arts. He mainly blamed Patrick Buchanan for stirring up the controversy that prompted Mr. Frohnmayer’s firing from the National Endowment for the Arts last month. He also openly criticized President George H.W. Bush. Mr. Frohnmayer recited the First Amendment and ended his speech by singing a verse from the hymn “Simple Gifts.” He answered audience questions after his speech. 

Watch the recording here

Appearance on Charlie Rose

Monday 04/26/1993

John Frohnmayer, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, presents his new book, "Leaving Town Alive: Confessions of an Arts Warrior."

Watch the recording here

As I See it, We Have Truly Lost Our Way

Opinion piece in the Gazette Times, 2018

Read the article here

Interview with Senatorial Candidate, John Frohnmayer

Jay Thiemeyer speaks with Independent Party Senatorial Candidate John Frohnmayer. Frohnmayer is a lawyer, author and ethicist. He served as Chairman of the National Endowment For The Arts during the first Bush administration.

Listen to the interview here

Eight Suggestions for Democracy

John Frohnmayer was the keynote speaker at the Healthy Democracy 10th Anniversary Celebration on April 8, 2019.

Read the speech here

Carrying the Clubs, Five on 5

John Frohnmayer discusses his book, Carrying the Clubs on NBC's Five on 5, 2019

Watch the recording here

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