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In a fine Reason.com piece on arts funding long ago, Jim Henley explained that the best reason to get rid of public funding for the arts isn't to save the public funding, but to save the arts:
Years ago, tragedy struck the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland when the Clinton-era NEA declined to renew the Center's grant because it was not doing enough "outreach." In his lament in the organization's newsletter, Director Allan Lefcowitz explained why the loss was such a problem: an NEA grant has a multiplier effect. The major foundations view it as a Seal of Approval. NEA money attracts anxious private money.
If the NEA's outsized influence on private giving struck Lefcowitz as a problem, he was too tactful to say so. But it strikes me as one. The NEA has been an excuse for private donors to abdicate the responsibilities of connoisseurship. Not only did we have plenty of Shakespeare before the NEA, we had real patronage. John Quinn paid for modernism out of his own pocket, bankrolling Yeats, Eliot and Joyce at various times. He didn't look for official sanction before doing so. Get rid of the Official 1 percent, and perhaps the Unofficial 99 percent might recover a modicum of Quinn's courage—maybe find the next Young Dana Gioia out on the road, or he them.
Something similar seems to be at work in the way orchestras engage audiences. The funding source have been so unchanging for so long that nobody seems willing to think about the music business as a business. Classical musicians take great pains these days to show that they're not a bunch of stuffed shirts, that they don't mind when buck-toothed yokels applaud between movements, and so on. But very little of that attitude has leaked into the way they put on shows and get paid for it.