Saturday, May 8, 2010

Congress hears typical pleas for more arts funding

One thing that arty types do better, and more often, than just about anything else is ask for more money from government. The latest prominent person of this kind is Kyle McLachlan, who says that greater funding of the arts is a matter of great urgency.

His own high self regard is revealed by the fact that he said he wouldn't have got a start in his career if it were not for publicly funded theatres employing him in their productions. The inference seems to be that the world would be poorer without his work in Desperate Housewives and the like.

I don't want to sound like a philistine, but I do think that when money is tight there are more deserving groups to give it to than the arts community.

One thing artists often do to justify their requests is to say that more arts funding is good for business. (But that begs the question: If they are so good at creating business then why are they asking for funding in the first place?) Of course, arts campaigners are using that argument in this call on Congress.

But surely one of the most bizarre arguments in this campaign doesn't come from an artist, but from a retired soldier called Nolan Bivens, who says that arts education will help the war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq.


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