Thursday, May 31, 2007

Grants for gardens

NYC is apparently awash in arts money, though the way they define such activity is a little, mmm, broad.

From the article:
The calculations include artists' salaries, money that arts groups spend on services and supplies, and audience spending on hotels, meals and parking. Also included is "induced spending" on food, clothing and other items by people who earn money through the arts.

The arts industry in the report includes theaters, museums, gardens, art galleries, auction houses, arts-driven tourism and movie and television production.
Why not count all money spent while talking about the new Ben Stiller movie?

This demonstrates nicely the folly of trying to assign dollar figures to the "worth" of the arts. Bookninja thinks Harper should sit up and take notice. Really? If Harper were to take a lesson from this, it would be that we need more large-scale, commercial entities like Broadway, Spider-Man, and the David Letterman show, which doesn't exactly the fit with the usual "more arts funding for unprofitable niche dilettantism now" creed.

Give a starving poet a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him how to work a boom mic and he can feed his family.

ADDED: Just to make clear, I'm all for funding unprofitable niches - I'm an unprofitable niche myself, after all – but let's not compare oranges with Big Apples. And justifying arts funding based on payoff just opens the door to someone saying, "Well, if payoff's the aim, why not only fund sure-fire payoffs?" Which is very nearly the opposite of what arts funding is – or should be – about.

1 comment:

jp said...

why do so many artists think they should be saved from the market's judgement while the rest of society should be left to swim in it?