public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:02 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 7:56 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Just to put an international perspective on this:

- the total NEA budget is less than 20% of the annual Arts Council England budget, which doesn't include the money available for Scotland.

- the total NEA budget is the same order of magnitude as the annual grant to Paris Opera Ballet alone and double the annual grant for the Royal Opera House in London.

The big companies with social kudos to sell can succeed in the US environment, but I weep for the small companies. Lucky Mark Morris (and the US dance public for the past 15 year) that he was financed by the Belgian tax-payers for 3 years and created several large scale masterpieces that would not have happened in the US. BTW the Belgian dance going public hated these works - they wanted Bejart back. I'm afraid public opinion is not a useful yardstick for artistic worth.

In order for a US president to convince me that he was serious about the Arts, he would have to increase spending on the arts to English levels (not the most generous in Europe). Your population is roughly 5 times that of the UK, so total spend should be £400m x 5 x 2 (very rough exchange rate) ie $4,000 million - ie an increae of over 35 times from the present pitiful levels.

OK, let's be generous, Rome wasn't built etc. I'll settle for a 10x increase to show a serious intent to fund the arts properly.

A final thought: safe art = no art

<small>[ 17 February 2004, 09:08 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 9:31 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 38
Location: New York
Stuart - the problem with your international perspective is that it fails to take into account that American art relies heavily on private and personal support, rather than government funding. Unlike the Royal Opera or Paris Opera Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera receives little or no money from the government. It is funded by the Met Opera Guild and the patronage of the performances. So, while other dance companies around the world may need governmental support, most in American do not. It is unfair to criticize America for not spending more on art when, quite frankly, it isn't really needed.

Most American art is that way - think of the dozens of privately owned galleries in New York alone, or the numerous independent theatre companies that receive not a penny from the government, state or local, and yet survive through donations and patronage. In some communities in the US, the local symphony or ballet may struggle because of a lack of ticket sales, and may then request state supplementation, but very, very rarely does American art receive partial, if any, funding from the government.

In addition, your scathing review of American art expendicutres fails to mention the fact that Americans not only support arts in America, but abroad as well. Just take a look at the sponsors of an opera performance in Europe, and you're likely to find quite a few private and corporate Americans on the list. In France, the Chateau Versailles was basically completely renovated and restored with private American contributions. So, in addition to thanking the English taxpayers for their contribution to English art, you can thank numerous individual Americans as well.

And, of course, America does quite well without governmental support, boasting the best art across the board of any nation in the world. Certainly the US has the best film, music, theatre, literature, painting, and arguably dance and opera as well. So, the government could increase funding for the arts, but then again, it's quite unnecessary for the most part...

_________________
MW


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 10:05 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
I'm not sure that American corporate funding is all that it seems. By far, the greatest percentage of monies come from private individuals.

The greatest difference between US Government funding and European funding, besides the sheer volume, is the strings attached. In Europe, artists are allowed more room to innovate.

The overall NEA funding is a curious one. The levels keep changing and is so fraught with politics. Proposals to increase are first shot down and then goes through depending on who's in office, who proposes them, and the stipulations they come with. To say that it is not political is perhaps naive.

The track record I speak of above relates to the political maneuverings of politicians. Bush, as have others, have built a track record of spending money to partisan advantage -- but he seems to do so particularly well and often. However, this topic is about the arts. So let's stay clear of the other aspects of politics and focus only on the issues directly related to the NEA funding.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 3:05 pm 
Online

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12382
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
By all current accounts, corporate funding is at best flat if not declining. Individual donations have picked up some of the slack, but the increased administrative costs of soliciting and processing individual donations vs. corporate donations cut into the pool of money ultimately available to fund the artistic product. Ticket prices, although high and climbing higher annually, provide between 40-60 percent of the annual budget in the major arts organizations that I follow closely. The unfunded balance becomes a deficit, funded (with interest) by the financial establishment; the payments on this deficit become another fiscal black hole unless a funding angel can be found to wipe the slate clean. Very few people want to fund old debts; funding bricks and mortar capital projects is far more popular. Operations funding remains a seriously undermet need in most arts organizations, which operate on a far more hand-to-mouth basis than is generally acknowledged to the public -- again, on the supposition that to do so would frighten off both individual and corporate donors, who would not want to invest in an organization that presents such a marginal fiscal profile. I submit that all U.S. arts organizations have serious unmet needs and all of them face an annual struggle to close a serious budget gap. The personal toll exacted by these fiscal pressures on board members, managers, and artistic staff contributes to the increasingly high rate of turnover among these key personnel. While public funding is miniscule, it remains an important stamp of approval and an attraction element for other funders. An NEA grant of $10,000 for an organization with a $1 million budget is typical, as is $120,000 for a $20 million organization. These funds are always directed toward a specific funding proposal and generally require the organization to do something that they would not necessarily have done in the absence of those funds.

For struggling boards and administrators, a small amount of unrestricted support from any source -- whether it is the government, a private foundation, a corporation, or an individual -- sounds like manna from heaven in the face of the daily struggle to keep enough cash on hand to meet payrolls and current expenses.

At my home, I have a stack of solicitation requests -- many from the arts organizations to which I subscribe and contribute. The tone of these requests has become increasingly urgent in the past year. Anything that will allow arts organizations to direct resources toward artistic product and reduce the need to continually increase resources directed toward marketing and fund development would be of great benefit to the art form.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 9:14 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 2
Location: Washington, DC
George W. Bush is playing a friend of the arts to gain votes its that simple. He is desperate for all the votes he can get in the upcoming election.

If approved, the 15 percent increase, to a fiscal 2005 budget of $139 million, would be the largest increase at the NEA since 1984. Note: that's only if this is approved and with the direction the economy has headed under the Bush Administration I am not so hopeful that Campaign promises will be achieved.

There have been more people out of employment now than when Bush began. I really don't think he is
honest when it comes to the budget as well as funds that he plan's to be awarded to the NEA.

_________________
GEM


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 7:37 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Seattle, WA,USA
Quote:
Certainly the US has the best film, music, theatre, literature, painting, and arguably dance and opera as well.
MW - I don't think this is 'certain' at all. What US museum compares to the Louvre? Do you really that the significant trash that Hollywood produces enobles the world? Has the US produced a Shakespeare, a Dante, A Homer ( and I am not refering to Homer Simpson ). Certainly the Met can take first place on any stage, but where are our von Karajans, our Sir Neville Marriners? As wonderful as ABT and NYC Ballet are performing, I wouldn't say the are significantly better than POB, the Kirov, or the Royal Ballet. And finally, as much as I may enjoy Snoop-Doggy-Dog during the occasional run, he really isn't a Mozart ( or a Beethoven, Brahms, Berlioz, Bach, ... ) is he?
I believe that one measure of a civilization's greatness can be based on the art it has produced, and let's face it, in the broad sweep of time the US is still second tier. If we are not careful, the US's greatest 'artisic' legacy to the world will be that of creative consumption, and when it comes to creative ways to destroy the planet, if you can consider this a capitalistic art form, then we take second to no one.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 8:31 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Just a reminder, folks -- let's keep this a discussion of the Bush administration's impact on the arts.

Any other comments -- pro or con -- about Mr. Bush and/or his Democratic challengers should be taken to one of the many fine political forums or newsgroups out there in cyberspace.

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 9:07 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Seattle, WA,USA
Sorry - I really wasn't commenting on the current political situation - I was just stunned by MWs comment that it can be said with 'certainty' that the US has best Arts in the world. This needs to be challenged. Also, there appears to be an underlying theme with MWs argument that the US has the 'best' art because the US is the richest country. I would argue that when a country economic wealth is one of it's two measures of greatness ( the other being it's military strengh ), then this actually chokes artisitc development.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 3:21 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 38
Location: New York
Matthew - right now, the US produces the best art in the world, overall. Certainly America has not produced a Mozart, Bach, Shakespeare, or Michelangelo, but those are once-a-millenium level artists. Plus America is decidedly younger than the rest of the world, so it hasn't had time to produce someone on the calibre of these greats. But across the board, America does produce the most and best art. I'm not talking about Hollywood bilge for the masses, but good legitimate art in all forms. My main point is that the US is the current leader in the art world with very little government support. Stuart criticized the US government for its anemic spending on arts, and my response was to illustrate that America doesn't need government support, as it does quite well without it.

Francis - I have no doubt you are correct in your assessment of theatre and dance troupes as constantly in need of money. But what business isn't? I recently attended a Broadway play, and in the Playbill was the complete list of patrons - corporate and private - for that theatre company, and the list was literally in the hundreds. Corporate sponsorship may be down, and you undoubtedly know more than I in this field, but I don't think the plight of most companies is as dismal as you portray.

Another issue is that art requires a certain amount of mass appeal to gain legitimacy. I'm not saying it has to be popular to be considered good art, but would we know the name Shakespeare if no one attended his plays? Or the name Balanchine if no one attended his dances? If a dance company struggles, it is usually one of two reasons in my opinion: 1. It is in a community that doesn't appreciate dance in general, or that company's form of dance in particular 2. It isn't a very good company. Again, I'm not saying that art has to be popular to be considered good, or that some good art won't be hated. But if a dance troupe consistently fails to draw a crowd in a dance-loving community, perhaps the fault is with the company's work, not the audience...

_________________
MW


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 3:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
MW, you continue to say that, "...across the board, America does produce the most and best art," without giving any indication of how you arrive at such a statement. The "best" descriptor is the most problematic both from a definition point of view and also when you consider specific examples.

For instance, in ballet most of those I know would nominate the Kirov or Paris Opera Ballet as the leading company worldwide. In films, the Far East often dominates film festival award lists and Wong Kar Wei from Hong Kong is the most innovative and artistic new director I have seen in the past ten years. I'm sure others could extend the list from the current art fields. The US is an important player in the world art scene but to claim dominance in every field could be seen as ethnocentric.

Returning to the point I made earlier about the impact of the US funding system. The examples you give are for major companies and venues and the US system serves them well for the time being, especially those that have built up an endowment fund to give support in tough economic times.

As I said earlier, "I weep for the smaller US companies." A serious increase in NEA funding would probably produce an artistic flowering of smaller companies and allow the larger ones to spend less time on desperate fund raising to keep their heads above water. Did you notice that the Eliot Feld company is closed this year for lack of funding.

To have an arts funding system that is dependent on trading social kudos for donations is likely to produce predictable and unoriginal work and inhibit the growth of new artists and companies.

For the small and many medium sized companies an NEA grant increase would also mean that dancers would be provided with health care and other benefits that are appropriate for professionals working in the world's leading commercial and industrial nation.

In addition, a number of US artists choose to work in the Europe under subsidised systems which allow them to make more adventurous work - William Forsythe and Mark Morris in the 1980s are two prime examples.

There are positive aspects to the US system and dance companies in Europe can learn from the fund raising initiatives of their American counterparts, but I am confident that the US arts scene would be a lot more vibrant with a 5 or 10-fold increase in NEA spending, which the country and the taxpayers wouldn't even notice, it is so small compared with other national buget items.

<small>[ 08 March 2004, 09:21 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2004 4:04 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 8612
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
MW-

If the government funded the US arts more then they wouldn't have to solicit so many donations from the business and indivudual sector, thereby saving costs in their development personnel.

It is a travesty that American arts organizations have to spend so much time and money on asking for maney because the American government is unwilling to fund them more.

You have used the lame excuse that politicians have used for years to keep NEA funding down: "The American people don't want to spend their hard-earned dollars..." A study was done that showed that the AMerican people were spend 17 cents a year on public funding for the arts. I think everyone in America could give up one overpriced latte to fund the arts more securely.

As for Bush's track record in the arts...

Does he go to see the arts? No.
Does he own any art? Probably not.
Does he lie constantly for political advantage? Yes

I stand by my original comment and disagree with everything you have said.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 3:26 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Arts agency remakes image, reaches out

By TOM SABULIS for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It almost feels like ancient history now, those inflammatory days of homoerotic photographs and crucifixes suspended in urine. The National Endowment for the Arts is winning new allies as it reshapes an image overshadowed by controversy.

Even the White House has seemingly gotten behind the federal agency. President Bush has requested an $18 million increase for the NEA in fiscal year 2005. If approved, that would be its largest boost in two decades.

The NEA's turnaround has been achieved, in part, through high-profile tours of unassailable works and reaching out to traditionally underserved areas, including Georgia and other Southern states.

click for more


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trying to Buy Our Votes with the NEA Carrot
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 3:36 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
The Atlanta article above makes depressing reading. Given that $15m of the proposed $18m increase will go to the "American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius" that leaves $3m for new art ie just about in line with inflation.

While preservation is important, given that the past is what the financially more robust major companies do, a strong focus of any arts funding environment should be new art. The NEA empahasis reminds me of a pop singer endlessly revisiting their back catalogue.

Just did a quick calculation and the 1992 NEA budget of $172m would need to be around $250m today to have kept up with inflation ie a 45% increase.

If this is a vote-buying ploy, it certainly wouldn't win my vote either for its size or its application.

<small>[ 15 March 2004, 04:40 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group